California’s elections chief says voting is unfolding smoothly, despite a charged environment.

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With false allegations of voter fraud following the California recall election, we checked with Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who oversees state elections. The interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

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How is the voting going?

We’ve seen over eight million ballots sent back so far, which is a very significant number of ballots coming in. So that in itself is exciting, plus the ballots are being left in the ballot boxes this morning.

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We have called all of our hotlines to ask where their polling places are or are looking for additional information. It is clear that today people are interested in voting.

Why are people calling hotlines?

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Sometimes people’s familiar polling places are where they used to go forever and now they have changed. We got a few calls saying, “Where are you now?”

We have people who couldn’t find their ballots – lost them after they arrived in the mail. And we have people who have left the state for a while and wonder how they can still vote for things like this.

But we have no long lines, no people waiting. Right now we have zero wait time.

Any other bottleneck today?

We have seen the little things. A polling place is opening 10 minutes late, stuff like that.

Due to the fire, we have some people who have moved away from their places. So we have to deal with that issue. We had a county where telephones weren’t serving. We’ve just adapted and accommodated every little new thing that’s coming up. But we don’t have anything that would be a major shutdown.

For those facing hardships due to forest fires, what else have you done?

We have ensured that those who were in the fire zone got their mail-in ballots.

We have ensured that those who have had to leave or who have lost their homes have access to voting in various other ways in terms of being able to move to another county to vote, ensuring that They have mail-in ballots. , making sure they know where the ballot boxes are in other counties or other areas. So we have reached out to all those who may have been affected by any fire or tragedy of any kind.

We also set up remote mobile voting for our firefighters to ensure that those who are away from their homes have access to vote.

How are you preparing your office for the claims and potential lawsuits of electoral fraud that Republicans say they may bring?

I think the whole discussion of fraud across the country gives us a preview of what people will do. They can file various lawsuits. We know they’re trying to collect information – they set up a website saying, ‘If you see any irregularities, show us your irregularities.’ And, you know, people go to court, and so far across the country, they’ve lost because there hasn’t been widespread fraud in the election process. But whether they decide to go to court or not, we will be there to defend the process.

We know they’ll always talk about the fact that it was a stolen election or a hoax,—or there’s a new word, “shenanigans.” We have no evidence of this, and when we have been accused of any kind, especially if there is specific information, we have investigated. And as most people across the country have found, there are none.

So we’re not completely panicking. We are just making sure everything we do is right by the book. We have taken our time to make sure there is transparency. And so far, we ourselves have found nothing.

Have there been additional steps of transparency in this hyperpartisan era, when the process itself is being contested?

We do what we’ve always been doing. Remember, this is a unique choice. But keep in mind, we’ve had four or five elections this year, special elections, as well as last November.

Whenever we come across something that may be of concern, we try our best to make sure that we get over it. If we find out that someone is complaining that the signs are too small they can’t really see any signs at the polling station, we try to make sure we do more next time. If people feel deprived because of the language, if there are enough people in that community, we make sure we increase the number of languages ​​and make sure those languages ​​are clear.

And so it’s not like we’re gearing up because Mr. Elder says something or someone else says something. We know that questions of fraud or questions of transparency are constant. And, when I visit the offices of the various registrars, I see them responding to a variety of issues, such as ensuring that people have access to the opening of ballot papers.

When I was in an area, they basically built pathways for people to be able to do this. So these are the kinds of things that we respond to all the time to make sure that people who want to build transparency and fairness issues have the opportunity to do so.

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