Supervisors Hear of Election Woes from Local Party Chairman

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Imperial County Democratic Party Chairman Tomas Oliva expresses his concerns and discontent with voting procedures during the recent elections.

EL CENTRO – Unhappy with voting deficiencies and errors within the county during the last elections, Imperial County Democratic Party Chairman Tomas Oliva addressed the Board of Supervisors during public comments at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

“Last week we had an important day in the state with the primary elections” Oliva said while highlighting the importance of voting in Imperial County. “I know I am preaching to the choir, and I highlight how important our voting system is for our governance and how difficult it is to convince citizens to engage in voting, but it’s important to remember that the elections and participation is the reflection of what people want.”

“In Imperial County, we have had significant election ballot errors that must be addressed,” he added.

According to Oliva, Imperial County has experienced numerous blunders in the last several election cycles such as incorrect spelling of names, incorrect gender, absence of a particular race on a ballot, and errors in sample ballots and/or candidates.

“Board members, this cannot continue in Imperial County and it shouldn’t,” said Oliva.

“I’m here not necessarily to wag my finger, but to extend a hand to offer my assistance in any way that I can. I plan to submit a letter to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, to send resources, to come out and evaluate the elections department in Imperial County, and make recommendations on improvement.”

During the department reports, Debra Porter, county Registrar of Voters, assured the board Oliva’s concerns were being addressed. She also pointed out several other issues encountered such as polls opening late, IID Division 2 candidates not appearing on ballots, incorrect ballots mailed to wrong areas, and voters registered with no party preference.

According to Porter, those who received incorrect ballots were reissued correct ballots prior to elections, and those who were registered as “No Party Preference” were directed to change to Independent, Democratic or Libertarian.

Porter also gave an update on vote count and said as of June 13, 20,309 ballots had been counted with an additional 9,000 pending in mail-in provisional ballots.