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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

San Diego County Registrar Has Received More Than 725,000 Ballots

Speaker 1: 00:00 We're a week out from what used to be called election day, but what some now refer to as the last day of voting that's because COVID-19 has transformed voting in this presidential election year. And since time is short, we've packed a lot of election info into today's show up first with his view on how things look entering the racist final Furlong is Michael VU, the registrar of voters for San Diego County. Welcome back to midday edition. Thanks for having me again. Well, for months now, KPBS and all other news outlets have been getting the word out about mail-in ballots and early voting looks like we did a pretty good job. Tell us how many people have voted already either by mail or dropped off their ballots compared with years past. Speaker 2: 00:41 Absolutely. I agree with you. I think the community is coalescing around knowing that there's a pandemic that is out there and knowing that there's also, this is the high turnout election that we ever conducted in a four year period, and everyone is coming together and heating our call to vote that mail ballot and returning it as a safer option for the upcoming election. So far, we have over 800,000 mail ballots that have been returned back to our office and compared to 2016, when we finalized the, in certified that respect of election, where in that election, we had over 857,000 mail bouts that were cast that represents currently 93% of total nail mail ballots that were cast during the 2016 election. Speaker 1: 01:21 And what chunk of the overall, uh, voting, uh, electorate eligible here, uh, does that represent, uh, is it, uh, is, are we at 50% yet? Speaker 2: 01:30 So, uh, as of right now, with the 1.95 million registered voters that we have that represents about 41% of the total number of registered voters have reported their mail ballots back to our office. Speaker 1: 01:42 And do you expect we're going to have a huge turnout this year, as people are saying across the country? Speaker 2: 01:47 Oh, very much so. I mean, with the total number of mail ballots that have been returned thus far, the anticipated number of individuals that will go to the polls, we anticipate that this could be one of the highest turnout elections in our County, if not the highest turnout ever in our County. Speaker 1: 02:01 And most people already voted by mail here, but many more apparently are doing so this year, remind us of how many in-person voting places we have compared with what's normal in a presidential election year. Speaker 2: 02:13 Normally in a presidential election year, we would have a neighborhood polling place, precinct environment model, uh, to the tune of what we anticipated going into this upcoming election, which would be around 1600, if not more than 1600 neighborhood precincts, but because of the pandemic, we've consolidated them to much larger locations. And as a comparison to neighborhood garages and pizza parlors and businesses that may not allow us to use their respective locations are frankly too small to allow for social distancing and the trade-off here as opposed to having one day across 1600 plus locations. Now these are 235 super polling locations across a four day period. We are four days away from opening. These super polling locations for voters. Every voter is assigned one, those 235 superposed locations when they open on October 31st and run for a four day period. Speaker 1: 03:05 Now we get the first results just after polls closed at 8:00 PM on November 3rd, you've already been counting votes sent in early. Can we expect a big majority of results to come right then on election night? How will that work? Speaker 2: 03:18 Uh, incorrect is with over 800,000 mail ballots that are already returned. We'll be able to get many of those into the account, uh, and report those out, uh, come that shortly after the close of polls on election night. Again, we're only going to be as good as voters return those mobile it's sufficient time for us to process them so we can report those out. Um, at the first report out, as I mentioned before, one of the significant difference is, is that these polling locations will be open for a three-day prayer prior to election day. So those bouts are casts from October 31st through November 2nd. We'll also be added into the count for that first report that's never been done before. Speaker 1: 03:57 So it should be very interesting seeing those very first results. Now, president Trump has made many unsubstantiated warnings about election fraud, including Phantom claims about destroyed ballots and postal workers being arrested. What's the evidence of actual fraud involving ballots in this County Speaker 2: 04:14 Slim tonight. I would say that by any means they're not systemic on any level and if we have any allegations of it, uh, certainly we refer those matters to the sec, uh, secretary of state fraud investigation unit. Uh, certainly our district attorneys and if necessary the FBI as well. Um, so in my lifetime of conducting elections for the past 24 years, I haven't really seen any level of systemic, uh, widespread voter fraud, but again, there are safety measures and safeguards in place. Uh, and in this upcoming election, there's only been more transparency, uh, provided for voters to keep tabs on their respect of mail ballots. The fact that they can track their mail ballots. And certainly we've been fielding calls from voters, as well as to the status of their, their respective mail ballots. They can also look it up online. We've always had a portal online for them to determine whether or not their mail ballot has been returned back to our respective office. Speaker 1: 05:05 There's also been talk and stories and reports nationally about fears about possible voter intimidation at polling places. Also some stories about cyber attacks on the election. Uh, are you concerned about these things? Do they keep you up at night? Speaker 2: 05:20 Everything keeps me up at night, including those that you have mentioned. And let me just say that we have a multi-tiered, uh, cybersecurity defense approach when it comes down to ensuring that we are safeguarded from a cyber perspective. Certainly there's a lot of confluences of events that are happening, but all of these things are things that we keep, uh, up at night, making sure that all of all the various agencies is keeping tabs on making sure that we have a good election, not just for November 3rd, but the three days leading up to that as well as post-election as well. Speaker 1: 05:54 Well, we hope it all goes smoothly and we hope to see that a number of voters turn out in this presidential year. I've been speaking with Michael VU, registrar of voters for San Diego County. Thanks very much and good luck next Speaker 3: 06:05 Next week. Thank you so much.

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