Friday, 10 July 2020

County administrative officer and interim registrar issues statement on May 7 election

First, I want to say I could not be happier with the leadership and stability that interim Deputy Registrar of Voters, Marcy Harrison, has brought to her office over the past two months.

Marcy stepped into her role with great commitment and energy, and provided exemplary service to Lake County residents and Lakeport Fire Protection District. It has been a joy to support Marcy, and see her grow and excel.

The recent efforts of the entire Registrar of Voters staff have been truly commendable. Leading up to Election Day, we were grateful for the invaluable contributions of multiple long-term extra help staff, for example, who helped our office provide a sense of continuity for voters. Their efforts prepared the way for successful vote tabulation and timely delivery of preliminary election results.

Since February, retired long-time Registrar Diane Fridley and former Interim Registrar Maria Valadez have also graciously lent expertise on a volunteer basis, and it is fantastic that they remain so supportive of Lake County elections.

Our May Special Election has been impartially conducted and professionally managed. Nearly 6,000 county residents were eligible to vote, and the turnout was strong relative to similar vote by mail elections in Lake County. Votes postmarked by Election Day and received by Friday will be counted. Signature verifications and other efforts are likewise ongoing, which are expected to yield further countable votes.

Election Day was a truly exciting step forward for our developing elections team. In total, more than a dozen people contributed on Tuesday, and all were able to complete their work before 9 p.m.

Lake County is at the forefront of California local governments implementing new voting systems, having initiated purchasing efforts well ahead of Secretary of State, Alex Padilla’s, February 27 advisory that many voting systems had been decertified: https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov//ccrov/pdf/2019/february/19015sl.pdf .

Our Board of Supervisors authorized purchase of the Verity Voting System by longtime Lake county elections partner Hart InterCivic. The system includes vote counting and ballot programming software, as well as ADA-compliant ballot marking equipment. The Verity system was implemented for this election, and both hardware and software performed as anticipated on Election Day. Hart staff have been on-site this week, providing valuable support. Particularly as we look ahead to the March 2020 Presidential Primary, we are thrilled to have tools that will facilitate broad voter participation and the highest standard of election security.

We are likewise grateful Lake County is ahead of the curve, and gaining experience with our new system. We were very pleased that two counties came to observe our election, to inform their own voting system purchases. This recent article offers some further insights into the Verity system: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/forward-looking-lake-county-chooses-225200938.html .

In the days and weeks to come, we will continue to take constructive steps, and look forward to certifying our election results within the customary 30-day timeframe.

Carol Huchingson is the county administrative officer and interim registrar of voters for Lake County, Calif.

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