Minutes from September 26, 2017 Open Board Meeting-Registrar of Voters

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

 Open Board of Directors Meeting 

 Norton Event Center
1601 E. Third St., Suite 138
San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present:  Deborah Barmack, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Mike Burrows, Dennis Cota, Ashley Gaines, Louis Goodwin, P.T. McEwen, Dan Murphy, Brian Reider, Michael Rivera, Kristine Scott and Paul Shimoff.

Guests: Adam Eventov.

Announcements: 1)   Appreciation was expressed for Ken Coate who is testifying today at the Metropolitan Water District Board in support of the California Water Fix. 2) Members were reminded that the lunch on the historic Union Pacific Fleet is today. 3) A majority of the members present voted to extend an invitation of membership to the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA).

M/S/P: Minutes from September 19, 2017.

Louis Goodwin introduced Mike Scarpello, Registrar of Voters, San Bernardino County.

Mike Scarpello has been with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters since 2011. Since that time much has changed in their operations.  Improvements range from new ballots, voter information guides and use of election analytics to more voting options like expanded early voting locations and 50 additional mail ballot drop-off sites. These changes have helped to improve voter information and to speed up vote counting. The Registrar’s office has created improved documentation of their processes and procedures, along with creating new technology solutions.  They have also updated their website, expanded their presence on social media, and created the very popular ballot selfies booth.

Voter file maintenance is the process county elections officials use to ensure their voter registration lists are accurate.  Not only does the Elections Office perform the state-mandated procedures, but the Elections Office also performs a number of optional daily, weekly, and monthly internal audits to identify potential duplicate registration records and invalid registration information. State requirements for voter information is updated by gathering information from these sources:

  • Change of address records from the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • U.S. postal service
  • Undeliverable mail
  • The VoteCal statewide voter data base

The Department of Public Health reports deceased voters; duplicate voters are reported through the VoteCal system; and non-citizens are reported through the Superior Court jury administration system. Optional file maintenance conducted by the County includes: Duplicate Records Audit to identify potential duplicate records, Address Standardization Audit which identifies mailing addresses that do not adhere to the United States Postal Service addressing standards, and Invalid Information Audit which searches for invalid registration information, including driver’s license numbers, zip codes, or phone numbers.  This information is compared to the voter registration card images to determine if there are typographical errors and to Alternate Residency Confirmation (ARC), which identifies registration records where voters have not voted, changed their name, address, or party, and have not registered or re-registered within the previous four years.

Mike Scarpello reminded the group that elections are not over until 28 days after the election, as both provisional ballots and potentially thousands of mail-in ballots cast may not yet be received and counted.   Ballot processing includes counting mail ballots brought to the polling place, reconciling the number of voters in roster with ballots cast, duplicate and count damaged ballots, and count and process provisional ballots.  Provisional ballots go through four different verification tests.  In the 2016 election, Assemblyman Marc Steinorth questioned/challenged over 13,000 provisional ballots and sent observers to watch the vote counting process.  Through their regular process, the Registrar’s office disqualified many votes which were not eligible because their home addresses were not in the district where the vote was cast.  Mr. Scarpello emphasized that observers are always welcome.  He explained that employees are specifically trained in signature verification and focus on identifying character similarities as signatures can change over the course of a lifetime.  New challenge procedures and forms are now in place having been vetted by the County Counsel.  It is noteworthy that the number of provisional ballots in San Bernardino County has decreased by 4% while every other county in California has increased by an average of 32%.

Claims of wide spread voter fraud are unfounded as reviewed by the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. Additionally, there have been no reports or evidence of voter impersonation, fraud in mailed ballots, or individuals seeking to vote twice in this county.

Cyber security is an ongoing and real concern with evidence of Russian I.P. addresses attempting to hack into our systems. Voter registration is protected with coordination from Department of Homeland Security, FBI, vendors (like Microsoft & Cisco), Secretary of State, and County Information technology departments.  The actual voting systems are the most secure as they are isolated, stand-alone systems (not connected to the network, internet or voter registration systems) and housed in secure facilities.

SB 415 Voter Participation Rights Act will take effect in January 2018 and will change the election cycle to even-numbered years. If voter turnout is 25% less in the odd number years than the even years, jurisdictions must either move their 2019 election to 2020; or make a plan by 2018 to change election cycles by 2022.  In 2017, 21 of 24 San Bernardino County districts moved their election dates.

SB 450 Voters Choice Act passed in 2016 allows all California counties to decide if they would like to implement the following:

  • Voters choose how, when, and where to vote.
  • Every voter will receive a mail ballot that can be returned by mail, drop-box or vote center.
  • Vote centers replace polling places. San Bernardino County would go from 405 polling places to 80 vote centers
  • Voters can cast their ballot at any vote center in the county.

Fourteen counties in California have already opted to convert to this system. Many preparations are being made for officials to consider implementation in San Bernardino County.
A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.