Thursday, November 8, 2012

(Monterey Co) County grand jury praises elections department in report

BY: Aaron Crutchfield, King City Rustler -

The Monterey County civil grand jury has said that the county’s elections department is doing a good job of protecting elections’ integrity.

“The allegation that voter fraud is ‘rampant’ is unfounded,” the grand jury said in a report released in October. “California already has a law in place that requires voters to produce [identification] when they register to vote. The present procedures of setting up multiple checkpoints in voter registration and validation of voters’ identity that is conducted by [Monterey County Elections Department] appears more than adequate to safeguard voter fraud.”

But the grand jury also said that the procedures in place to make every vote count are costly and time-consuming, and that the elections department needs a better-designed, more user-friendly ballot, a more reliable tabulating machine, a better voter-education campaign and a larger building.

The report states that despite the elections department’s efforts, 6.6 percent of eligible voters didn’t update their information and therefore may become disenfranchised. Further, 13.7 percent of ballots cast by voters in the June primary election, which is 7,138 out of 52,087, were damaged or unreadable by the department’s scanners, requiring employees to manually duplicate those ballots so the votes could be counted, a very time-consuming process. Most of the ballots had to be redone because voters didn’t follow voting instructions.

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