Election critics rally at Riverside County supervisors meeting – Press Enterprise

Kenny Snell speaks Tuesday, April 9, 2024, to protesters concerned about the integrity of Riverside County elections outside the Riverside County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

A half-hour presentation on what Riverside County does to safeguard elections did nothing to convince skeptics Tuesday, April 9, who gathered outside county headquarters before airing their grievances to the Board of Supervisors.

“It’s ridiculous,” Diane Zimmerman told county supervisors. “You’re not getting rid of fraud. (The registrar is) not getting rid of fraud.”

Their remarks — similar to what’s been said at recent board meetings — followed a presentation on the March 5 primary by Registrar of Voters Art Tinoco that addressed a number of concerns, including 31 ballots postmarked on or before Election Day but arrived too late to be counted.

Tinoco certified the primary results, which his office delivered to the secretary of state by the Friday, April 5, deadline. The secretary of state has until Friday, April 12, to certify the statewide results.

Roughly 31% of the county’s 1.3 million registered voters cast a ballot in the primary through in-person voting and mail-in ballots. Two supervisor seats, Riverside City Council seats and November election ballot spots for state legislature and Congress were among the choices facing voters last month.

An assistant registrar who took over the top role in December, Tinoco explained the processes, many required by state law, that the county uses to collect, process and secure votes, including procedures for handling provisional ballots and reaching out to voters whose mail-in ballot envelope signature doesn’t match what’s on file.

Contrary to online conspiracy theories, the county’s Dominion-brand voting machines used to record votes are not connected to the internet so votes can’t be altered by hackers. State law requires California counties to publicly conduct a manual tally of votes in 1% of randomly selected precincts to ensure election results are accurate.

Officials have tried to quell concerns by opening the hood of the county’s elections infrastructure.

In February, the registrar’s office invited the public to watch a state-mandated “logic and accuracy test” to prove votes were counted accurately.

Despite these and other steps, doubts persist about elections in the county and nationwide, despite multiple independent investigations finding no evidence of widespread voter fraud and lawsuits alleging election fraud fizzling in court when asked to prove their claims.

Skeptics using social media organized a “Call to Action Rally” before Tuesday’s meeting. Roughly 20 people gathered on the steps of the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside holding signs that read “Paper Ballots Now!” and “Ditch the Dominion Machines.”

A woman at a folding table sold hats and shirts with slogans associated with former President Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again movement. Someone brought a “Let’s Go Brandon!” flag — a euphemism for an obscene reference to President Joe Biden.

Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from him, and his followers tried to stop Congress from certifying the election’s results during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.

Speakers shared their election doubts at Tuesday’s meeting.

Zimmerman said “the only way to get rid of fraud is to go back to same-day voting, voter ID (and) clear ballot boxes” allowing voters to see their ballots go into the box.

Mark Hedges said: I want to trust in my elections. I will agree even if the candidate I want is not elected. But I want to know that my vote counted. And right now, I do not feel my vote counts.”

Supervisor Karen Spiegel asked Tinoco about the 31 ballots that were postmarked on time but arrived more than seven days after the election — too late to be counted. The same thing happened to 73 ballots in Orange and San Bernardino counties.


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