South Bay election officials say safeguards in place for November

The issue of voting by mail has taken center stage. Santa Clara County elections officials say they’re in the planning phase for the upcoming presidential election.

In 52 days, one million vote-by-mail ballots will be sent to county residents.

“No, I don’t believe our voters should be concerned by vote-by-mail voting. I’ve been hearing a lot of things in the news that there’s wide-spread voter fraud,” said county Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey.

Suggestions of possible problems voting by mail came to the forefront in the Spring. The U.S. Postal Service sent a series of letters to California’s secretary of state, highlighting concerns with some aspects of the state’s vote-by-mail process pertaining to new residents. Then weeks later, in an unorthodox move, President Donald Trump began seeking to withhold billions in postal service funding, in an attempt to prompt people to cast ballots at polling sites in the midst of a global pandemic.

The California secretary of state then penned a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General, pleading for the implementation of so-called “best practices” before November. 

Experts say the president’s move against voting by mail pushes the nation to the brink once again.

“The entire democratic establishment, ordinary people, see the president involving and engaging in what is unconstitutional conduct,” said Dr. James Taylor, a University of San Francisco political scientist.

He says the president is attempting to undermine the election process to ensure victory in November, by setting up an Apartheid-like system.

“He’s the anti-Abraham Lincoln. He’s doing the opposite of what Lincoln would do. And Lincoln is considered the greatest president in American history for bringing a divided house together,” said Dr. Taylor.

At the registrar’s office, Bushey says safeguards are in place to protect the integrity of a system that routinely serves 75% of residents.

“We track the ballots from each voter. We track when the ballot comes in from each voter. And of course, we do signature checking,” she said.

Shannon Bushey explained people, not computer programs, will check the signature on every ballot. She also said this year, ballots will have 17 days after election day to reach her office – either by mail or via county drop boxes and voting sites.