Poll Observers Being Trained in Orange County
There’s an interesting article in the LA Times about people becoming poll observers in Orange County, California. A lot of interesting things in the write up: most of the observers are older, white, and women. They also tend to be Trump supporters, and facts don’t matter.
But it wasn’t until after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump began to sound the drumbeat of rigged elections and asked supporters — particularly in hotly contested battleground states — to monitor polling stations that the 53-year-old Laguna Niguel resident finally heeded the call of the election day poll observer.
Reedy not only trained to become an observer, she opened her home this week for others to learn from a coordinator for the private Election Integrity Project how to keep an eye out for irregularities on Tuesday.
“I just want to make sure that people who are eligible to vote are able to vote,” Reedy said. “And that they aren’t being cheated or manipulated by any party.”
She waved off studies that stated that voting fraud is rare. Those researchers, she said, just aren’t “looking in the right places.”
It also doesn’t help that Orange County could vote for a Democratic presidential nominee for the first time since the Great Depression.
Most of the people being trained are not being trained by the County (which offers free classes) but by something called the Election Integrity Project.
Gerdis stressed that two poll workers must be in the same vehicle and not in separate vehicles when they drop off ballots at the end of election day. If that’s not the case, she urged the participants to report it to the EIP hotline.
But in Orange County, poll workers are allowed to drive separately as long as they follow each other.
It’s a discrepancy that worries Nia Hartman, an electrical engineer from Rossmoor who has worked Orange County polling stations for 22 elections. She attended the seminar out of curiosity.
Though she said she was glad to meet other concerned citizens, she said she was taken aback by the generic information provided at the seminar, which in some cases did not match official Orange County procedures.
She said she worried that this could result in observers documenting correct actions as infractions and unnecessarily inflate peoples’ fears.
“I’m concerned that they are doing some fear-mongering with some of the issues they brought up,” Hartman said. “It’s as if they want to find fraud.”
It’s confirmation bias, if you believe there’s voter fraud, you’re going to find voter fraud. There should be no surprise that they are trying to find fraud, because even one example will be spun in the wingularity as proof of wide spread fraud.
Though the Registrar and the Orange County district attorney’s office has partnered on election day previously, this year, the agencies plan to ramp up their cooperation. The district attorney’s office will have 10 teams of two investigators in the field, ready to respond immediately if problems arise in polling stations.
Though Kelley said he doesn’t anticipate any issues, he wants to be extra prepared.
“Last thing I want to do is break up skirmishes on election day,” he said.
I feel sorry for the investigators assigned to polling station issues. Hopefully they won’t be breaking up fights, but this year? Who knows?