The latest wave of fake news concerns is deceiving postal voting fraud in the California recall election
A ballot box on the California Porch in Los Angeles.Reuters / Lucy Nicholson
You may have seen posts on Twitter, Facebook, or someone forwarded a WhatsApp message about suspicious activity in the California Recall.
There are always unsubstantiated rumors about the safety of elections, but since the 2020 elections and former President Trump’s “stop stealing” movement, rumors have been rife. “, It said in a statement by the coalition. Government and electoral industry officials.
Allegations of fraud in the California election, compounded on social media by some supporters of the recall and by the candidate himself. Larry Elder, host of most of the leading Republican talk shows.
As a result, ahead of the September 14 elections, state and county electoral authorities are emphasizing transparency and strengthening their anti-disinformation messages, including the ability for observers to monitor the number of votes cast as votes are protected, including independent testing, paper trails and audits.
An election security group arrives in California on September 2nd. Conducting Thorough Post-Election Review The Associated Press reported that this was the first contest since a copy of the system used to conduct the elections was publicly released.
Let’s look at the most common claims and conspiracy theories:
Stolen ballot papers and additional voting papers
There may be scams, or at least potential scams. But it’s just not widespread.
In Torrance last week, while investigating reports of a man sleeping in a car, police found a stolen driver’s license, credit card and mail. 300 unmarked, unopened recall voices. The man is arrested and a new ballot is sent to voters who find the ballot.
Torrance Police Sergeant Ron Salary said ballots were a small part of the stolen mail and did not appear to be part of any larger election-related scheme while the investigation was ongoing.
“If you find someone who is committing a crime, it means the system is working,” said Jenna Dresdner, a spokeswoman for the country’s electoral authority on cybersecurity. “This case was a general postal theft issue and was referred to appropriate federal and local law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution if necessary.”
Some Californians report receiving ballots that are not intended for them – either the names of non-family members or additional ballots.
The county sends out ballot papers based on the electoral roll. This is a register that can become obsolete for the following reasons: for example, death that has not been reported or a change of address. According to experts, if the election schedule accelerates, some ballots could end up in the wrong place. However, like ballots stolen in Torrance, there are safeguards in place to prevent anyone from voting more than once.
Los Angeles County Authorities Through the Signature Verification Process Prevent Others from Using the Ballot Papers.
“All ballot papers returned are verified by matching the signature on the return envelope with the signature on the voter’s registration record.” Los Angeles County Registry Recorder / County Secretary. “As soon as the confirmation is completed, the ballot will be recorded as received in the database and processed for the aggregation of the election night.”
According to a poll by the non-partisan California Voter Foundation in 2020, postal voting The area code was rejected in March. A closer look at the San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sacramento counties from 2018, Signature Mismatch They accounted for 4%, 10%, and 40% of all rejections, respectively. Voters will be notified, they can change and count the ballot.
The state also requires inclusion in the county’s ballot barcode and provides traces of paper. Ballot papers arrive and are counted.
Ballot design: holes and kinks
Kim Alexander, chairman of the California Voter Foundation, says conspiracy theorists don’t always spread false information.
“The California elections have never been easy,” she said, saying the voting details differed from county to county. “The result is confusion, and unfortunately some people fall into the worst of scenarios when they don’t understand something.”
For example, look at the posts that go around the hole in the reply envelope for voting paper. Some have raised concerns that these holes could be seen as they voted.
In response to a tweet from a Los Angeles voter, the county registrar-recorder / county secretary noted that the holes have been part of the envelope design for many years. They must be signed. Cannot be counted as an envelope ..
“That raises concerns that we need to address, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sign that someone is trying to steal your voice,” Alexander said.
Envelope holes are one of many measures used to help people with disabilities. Remote Access Email Voting System This enables people with disabilities to vote in person on their computer using audio, visual, or other required technology.
With COVID-19, this process was temporarily open to everyone. As a result, some conservative websites claimed it was a means of election theft. In 2020, according to the Foreign Minister, 37,178 voters registered to receive remotely accessible ballot papers.
However, the state claims to be taking steps to prevent fraud. Each registered voter is linked to a single address and signature so that no one can print out multiple ballots. The voter selection is also transferred to ballot papers and both documents are saved together for post-election reviews.
Janna Haynes, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County registrar, said there was sometimes false information, including the truth, but was lacking the context for people to understand.
Sacramento County issued a notice of a hole in the ballot paper, although its design was different from Los Angeles. “That ballot and envelope are not from Sacramento County. Sacramento County ballots and envelopes do not have this problem. There is a hole in the envelope that helps blind voters guide them to the signature field. The contest will not be published whether it is folded in an envelope or not. “
The order in which 46 replacement candidates appear on the ballot varies depending on the state legislature. It also means that the folds in the ballot paper that run through the candidate’s name are no way to “manipulate” the election.
Janna Haynes, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Registry Office, said:
Submit voting papers earlier
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the choice difficult In 2020, you can choose to vote directly, send the voting slip by post, or send it to Dropbox.
The decision to allow general voting by mail is the Delta variant.Despite allegations that the state is using the coronavirus as an excuse to send ballots out to all registered voters, coronavirus infection has become a major problem in California.
The Lassen County Electoral Bureau will show how many votes someone (likely the Governor and Democrats) voted for removal by providing an early ballot to those who wish to remove Newsom. Addressed a social media post with a warning that it might be known. “We can estimate how many“ votes ”our side needs to win. ”
The Lassen County Election Bureau condemned the claim. The Foreign Minister said the ballot was processed and counted up to 29 days before the election date. Until the voting is over, the result will not be announced, which side wins.
During the 2020 presidential election, Trump quoted a report by the One America News Network that falsely claimed that the voting machine had deleted the “millions of votes” cast for him. These machines were made by Dominion VotingSued OAN and Fox News, among others, which brought rumors to the surface.
The only known case including the Dominion machine turned out to be a mistake by the Michigan election officer. Still, the mention of the company makes some voters suspicious.
Sacramento County issued a statement on Aug. 13 that there were rumors, both domestically and internationally, that two Dominion employees were employed at the registry office.
“These rumors are false. The origin of these rumors is still unknown, but due to the spread of these rumors, our office is tackling this lie directly, ”the district statement said. ..
The county is one of the many that use Dominion machines. Dominion technicians are on-site to test the accuracy of the voting machines, but maintenance and repairs are performed by county staff and third party vendors have access to voting machines, voting papers, and ballot papers. I made it clear I didn’t.
Find the facts
So what is your view of the facts and fictions on Newsom’s recall? A little research helps. Cal Matters There is a FAQ ..
The state is working with district authorities in the #VoteSafeCA campaign to educate voters and provide tips on how to secure elections, including: Ballot tracking.
District electoral authorities encourage voters to send questions and concerns to the office by phone or email. Sacramento County is holding a public Q&A session tonight.
“When people worry about something, we have to do all we can and be the resource for the right information,” said Haynes.
Cal Matters is a public interest journalism company working to explain how the California State Capitol works and why it matters.
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