San Diego County Registrar of Voters gets interim removed from title
Speaker 1: (00:01)
After serving as interim registrar for months, Cynthia paths has been named as San Diego. County's new registrar of voters. She replaces longtime registrar, Michael VU, who was now serving as the county's assistant chief administrative officer pass takes on the top election's job. As the county launches a new system of vote centers to replace neighborhood polling places and offers a wider array of options to voters on how and when they wish to cast their ballots. And her term also begins as election results are doubted and challenged, like never before. It's a pleasure to welcome Cynthia paths to midday edition and welcome. Thank you for being here. Thank you. Now I know you've been working on county elections in the registrar's office for several years. How do you think that prepared you to become registered?
Speaker 2: (00:52)
So fortunately, um, I'm stepping into a role within a county that has administered successful open fair elections for a long time. So I'm coming from a history of successful elections to continue in that same vein. What's exciting. Moving forward is the implementation of the voter's choice act and the vote center model. So it's providing more options for voters to cast their ballot and more services at vote centers over multiple days.
Speaker 1: (01:30)
Can you remind us about the range of responsibilities you have as registrar of voters?
Speaker 2: (01:35)
We're responsible here at the registrar voters for administering all statewide and local elections for San Diego county. We also maintain the voter registration files and file maintenance as well as the petitions process.
Speaker 1: (01:54)
So that's all under your purview. So to speak, the county has recently approved some major changes in the way in-person polling will be done. About 200 votes centers will replace neighborhood polling places. As I mentioned earlier, how is that new idea coming along?
Speaker 2: (02:11)
So fortunately, um, this has been introduced to San Diego county voters in the November presidential general election in 2020, as well as the recent recall election in 2021, because of the global pandemic, we administered both elections under a, a vote center type model. So for both of those elections, we had 200 plus large voting locations open for multiple days, and we mailed every active, registered voter in San Diego county a ballot. So it has been introduced to our voters and we are joining over 60% of the state of California who has already moved to the vote center model
Speaker 1: (02:59)
And have the permanent vote center sites been
Speaker 2: (03:02)
Chosen. We're in that process right now. So we are looking at the locations that we used in both the presidential general and the recall election. And we're also starting, um, a very robust public consultation period where we seek suggestions and, and comments from the public related to citing these fully accessible vote centers, as well as mail ballot Dropbox locations.
Speaker 1: (03:31)
And because this idea is relatively new to all San Diego, can you explain how those centers will be different from the usual polling places
Speaker 2: (03:41)
And the neighborhood polling place model? So in the March presidential primary in 2020, we operated that election under the traditional neighborhood polling place model. This is where a voter is assigned to a location and they must go to their assigned poll location. If they go to a different location, then they would need to vote provisionally. Um, because most likely that location would not have their correct ballot type. And the November presidential general, we had over 4,000 variations of the ballot. And in that vote center type model, we were able to provide all of those variations of the ballot at each those center across the county. So a voter can go to any vote center and cast their ballot. It will also be open for multiple days. So in those past two elections voting locations were open for four days, going into the vote center model. We will have some locations open for 11 days and all of the locations, 200 plus locations will again be open for the four days. In addition, every active registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail. They can return that ballot by mail, or they can drop it off at any vote center or one of 130 plus mail ballot, Dropbox locations across the county that are open for nearly a month.
Speaker 1: (05:15)
And how do you intend to counter some of the doubts surrounding election results?
Speaker 2: (05:21)
My goal is to have a more robust website and media presence, more social media, as well as pushing out accurate information for all voters to access on our website. I think that if we increase the messaging, provide awareness to voters on how elections are conducted and the fair, accurate way elections officials conduct elections. So that is my goal. It's just to push out and make accurate information more available for voters to, to read and share.
Speaker 1: (06:04)
And Cynthia, what's intriguing about this registrar's job
Speaker 2: (06:08)
For you. When I came to elections, it was just that the concept of providing the forum for individuals to cast their ballot, um, just the idea of that direct contact with, with the public and providing that forum for democracy to take place, uh, is what intrigued me to come over to the registrar's office. I mean, every election I communicate with with hundreds of public observers that, that come and observe every aspect of the elections process that are, um, true warriors in elections, transparency, and being able to share with them in person, what we do it, it fills me with such pride. That's what I truly enjoy the participation, uh, the forum that we provide.
Speaker 1: (07:06)
I've been speaking with San Diego counties, newly named official registrar of voters. Cynthia pass. Thank you so
Speaker 2: (07:13)
Much. Thank you.
After serving as interim registrar since January, Cynthia Paes has been named San Diego County’s new Registrar of Voters. She replaces long-time registrar Michael Vu, who is now serving as the county’s assistant chief administrative officer.
Paes takes on the top elections job as the county launches a new system of vote centers to replace neighborhood polling places, and plans to offer a wider array of options for voters to cast their ballots.
Registrar of Voters Paes joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to also talk about her goals for the role during a particularly tense period in which elections have been challenged like never before.
"So that is my goal, it's just to push out and make accurate information more available for voters to read and share," she said.