Poll watchers will be permitted to observe election activities at polling stations countywide on Nov. 3, though COVID-19 related restrictions will limit the number of people allowed inside the sites.
Social distancing requirements mean only about one to two observers might be rotated in and out of the polling places at any given time this year, Assistant Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes said Thursday.
The number of polling places in San Diego County has been reduced from 1,548 in March to 235 larger polling places that will be open for four days. Each are expected to be staffed by about 15 county employees, Paes said.
The role of poll watchers has garnered increased attention as part of the national discussion on voter fraud and voter intimidation sparked most recently by President Donald Trump.
At Tuesday’s presidential debate, before the President tested positive for COVID-19, he called for his supporters to monitor polling places on Election Day.
Tony Krvaric, chair of the San Diego County Republican Party, said recruiting poll watchers is a typical practice, intended to ensure votes are cast and note any irregularities.
“We always recruit for poll watchers and have done so for as long as I can remember,” Krvaric told City News Service.
Krvaric said any such instances of irregularities are reported to local officials or the Registrar of Voters.
“Any voter irregularities could dilute legitimate votes cast,” he said.
Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, said he was confident in the San Diego County Registrar of Voters’ ability to ensure a fair election process. He said there are “a number of processes (conducted) to verify a vote.”
Regarding Trump’s allegations of voter fraud related to mail-in voting, Rodriguez-Kennedy called Trump’s assertions “a falsehood.” He also told City News Service that “mail ballot voting is safe and secure.”
– City News Service