A steady stream of voters turned in their ballots at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Photo by Chris Stone
A steady stream of voters turned in their ballots at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters office is suddenly seeing a large jump in requests for election information through the state’s open records act. 

The big increase — 20 times normal — comes on the heels of national news stories about how registrars across the country are being inundated by requests for documents, apparently from supporters of former President Trump who don’t believe the 2020 election results.

According to published reports, the requests to local election offices across the country are often broad in nature or written as form letters seeking detailed records of votes cast. One out-of-state registrar likened it to swamping websites with phony traffic.

The requests to the San Diego County office jumped from an average of just over 3 per month going back to September of 2021 to suddenly 64 in August.

“It is interesting to look at from a month-to-month perspective,” said Registrar Cynthia Paes. “In August we received 51 but for the most part the requests were asking for the same information,” she said, so her office was able to quickly respond.

The nature of the requests from our region are similar to those reported across the country. For example, one request from Escondido asks for a “per-ballot report. This set of information is sometimes known as a Cast Vote Record” and another request with a phone number having a La Jolla prefix asks the same thing, but the requester didn’t “insert jurisdiction” as instructed. Here is that request in part:

A typical records request received by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

The requests are public record, and Times of San Diego reached out to several of the individuals making them to ask about their motivation. No one responded.

But national news organizations point to the “Moment of Truth Summit” hosted by Mike Lindell, a fervent Trump supporter and the CEO of MyPillow. He is also one of the most vocal election conspiracy theorists.

The event was live-streamed Aug. 20-21 from Springfield, MO, immediately prior to the jump in record requests.   

Lindell says he has spend spent nearly $40 million on a crusade to get rid of defective voting machines that he claims denied Trump the election. Voting machine makers Dominion and Smartmatic have both sued Lindell for defamation.

Paes says her office is “committed to conducting fair, open and transparent election processes,” adding that “while the requests represented a significant increase, we were able to respond quickly within the required timelines.”

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 27, with corrected request data from the Registrar of Voters