Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Midday Edition

Deborah Seiler Reminisces About Her Time As San Diego's Voter Registrar

Deborah Seiler, Registrar of Voters
Deborah Seiler, Registrar of Voters
Deborah Seiler Retiring
Deborah Seiler Reminisces About Her Time As San Diego's Registrar
GuestsDeborah Seiler: San Diego County Registrar of Voters

San Diego County's Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler has an important job. The outcome of our elections depend on her -- whether our votes are counted accurately, whether the polls work smoothly, whether we trust the results.

Now, Seiler has announced her retirement and is reminiscing a little about her time at the registrar's office.

During her tenure, Seiler fought critics, oversaw the growth of mail-in votes and says she put a strong management team in place.


California opted not to use electronic voting in 2007, which Seiler said left the county with "a fleet of machines that are sitting there." She said there is one electronic machine in each polling place for the elderly or disabled to use.

"People like them. The elderly and disabled are particularly well-served by them because they're so flexible in terms of being able to see the type, the ease of voting, the accuracy of the vote count," she said. "I do continue to believe that the concerns were overblown and the studies were very biased against the entire industry. The standards were so harsh, the environment is so uncertain for the voting industry that counties are sitting on legacy equipment all throughout the state. And they have nothing to replace it with."

Seiler has a reputation for always being available to the media, unlike other county department heads.

"I do believe in the transparency of the system," she said. "I am very committed to elections. I've been in elections for 34 years."

"I believe that communicating with the public is one of the most important things that we can do so public do understand the process," she added. "I've always been, for the duration of my career, very concerned that people don't understand the basics of voting as well as they need to. And so the media has been wonderful in helping me get the word out."


Seiler's last official event will be Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony for the new $75 million Registrar's facility.

Her successor, Michael Vu, is the current assistant registrar at San Diego County Registrar of Voters.