As citizens we have a keen interest in how our co-Americans are responding to our current election and, as far as we can tell so far, people are stoked. It’s California, after all.
County elections officials report that an estimated 100,000 ballots have been returned to their offices for tally so far – a benchmark unreached until four days before Election Day during the March primary.
So, the citizenry is pumped up.
And despite some hiccups we’ve been pretty lucky as far as we can tell, with neighbors in Georgia waiting in line as long as ten hours to exercise their right as citizens. In Virginia, a county road crew apparently severed a fiber optic cable bringing down web sites set up for voter registration – with protests and lawsuits ensuing.
As shameful a condition as that may seem for a First World Nation, it did not appear that anyone was dropping out of line in Georgia, and there’s talk of extending the deadline for voter registration in Virginia.
Locally, some apparently minor miscues have given pause to those concerned about the drumbeat chant of “rigged elections” and voter fraud that have become such a familiar refrain this past year.
A ballot drop box in Danville was left open by mistake on Sunday, sparking a minor ripple of concern though city and elections officials said that workers had forgotten to secure the box after removing ballots Sunday morning. No ballots are believed to have gone astray.
Others fretted about what they perceived as a lack of information about available in-person voting venues in the county. People who contacted us asking why the information wasn’t being shared more widely.
The White House accused California of voter fraud shortly after accounts of illegal ballot drop boxes surfaced early this week. And although California Republicans finally admitted they were behind the appearance of cannily constructed but illegal drop boxes spotted in Southern California gun stores and churches they refused to withdraw them, say how many were in play and if they intended to place even more.
Hector Barajas, a spokesperson for the Republican party admitted they were behind the several dozen drop boxes across the state, agreed that the word “official” would be taken off, but that they would continue position the boxes despite a cease and desist letter and threats of prison time from Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
“We don’t have chain of custody,” Padilla told CNN. “We don’t have the requirements and regulations for these fake drop boxes as you do with the official drop boxes. This is wrong no matter who is doing it. It’s not just the security of the ballot in question here, it is the transparency, the voter confidence itself.”
Three weeks to go. We’ll see how things shape up.