IMPERIAL COUNTY — As December 6 nears, California’s required date for counties to report election numbers, the Imperial County Registrar of Voters has yet to process 5,600 provisional ballots, according to Imperial County Registrar of Voters Debra Porter. The Board of Supervisors asked Porter to provide an update during the November 22, board meeting.
“We still have approximately 5,600 provisional ballots to process and another several hundred damaged ballots that we need to duplicate so we can run those through the tally,” said Porter.
Porter explained the reason why the department is still behind is the verification process is time consuming.
“This is a one-on-one verification, and it’s not just verifying the signature like we do with vote-by-mail,” said Porter. “It’s also verifying the voter’s residence address, whether or not they are a registered voter, verifying their signature, and the precincts where they voted. It’s a long verification process.”
“This might be an embarrassing question, didn’t we invest in a new system in the elections department? Wasn’t that supposed to increase the response time for the vote count? If not, what is the issue?” questioned District 3 Supervisor Michael Kelley.
Porter said the system in fact did increase the response on election night, however that is not the case for vote-by-mail and provisional ballots.
“There are more and more people voting by mail or they want to drop it off,” said Porter. “That is something we have no control over. For our next elections we need to start teaching our voters to get their ballots in early so we can get them processed.”
State law requires county election officials to report their final results to the Secretary of State for presidential elections by December 6, 2016, and for all other contests by December 9, 2016. The Secretary of State will certify the results for presidential electors to the Governor by December 10, 2016, and will certify the results of all state contests by December 16, 2016.