SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ballots start going out on Monday for the June 7 primary election. You can start voting the same day by dropping off your ballot in a secure drop box location.
California is heading into the third statewide election since the pandemic, and local elections officers said its safer than ever.
"This is the tabulation room, where all the magic happens," said Sacramento County Spokesperson, Janna Haynes.
Magic is one way to put it, but after an extended tour of the warehouse where they are getting ready to send out ballots on Monday, it is clear there are no cards left unturned.
"So, up in the corner of this room, there is a fisheye camera that captures everything in this room, so that people can watch the process happen," said Haynes. "And it just helps not only for security purposes but with with the transparency.”
Haynes says the live streaming is a pandemic era invention, so people didn’t crowd outside the tabulation room to watch.
But she had more poll watchers standing outside the room in the 2020 election and the recall than ever before.
“I think that there are a lot of misconceptions or preconceived notions about how this process works," she said. "But then when people come here and they view the process, they realize how secure it is, how it's a really great combination of really intricate machines, but also so many human eyes that are still part of this process.”
In the previous elections, Republicans have raised unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and encouraged supporters to monitor ballot counting.
“We had election integrity reps in all 58 counties around our state," said California Republican Party Chairwoman, Jessica Millan Patterson. "98.75% of the ballots were being watched by lawyers, staff, and volunteers, so we feel good about the infrastructure that we've built so that we can have successes in November of 2022.”
Both Sacramento and San Diego registrar of voters said they’ve had no issues with fraud.
"It's disheartening because we take such great care and conducting elections," said San Diego Registrar of Voters, Cynthia Paes. "So, from our perspective, we're working harder to communicate to the public what we do try to gain that confidence back and to have access to factual information about how elections are conducted,”
Although there were no successful fraud attempts, they’re listening to concerns.
“Something new that we're doing this year is actually putting Apple air tags on our ballot transport bag so that we can track them wherever they are at any given time," said Haynes. "We've never experienced an issue with our ballot transporters driving somewhere that they're not supposed to, but it's questions that we have gotten.
For several elections now, San Diego has used phones to track the ballots as they move from one center to the main office.
Since the pandemic, every registered voter in California gets a mail-in ballot.
Sacramento county said that 94% of the votes were cast by mail-in ballots during the recall. San Diego County at 92%.
If so many people are going to continue voting by mail, why keep so many voting locations open?
There's a statewide code that says there needs to be a polling location for every 10,000 residents.
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