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San Benito County takes additional steps to provide transparency to voters

HOLLISTER, Calif. (KION) When all polls closed after 8 p.m., the Downtown Hollister voting center is allowing people to visit the location as they process the ballots.

In San Benito County, the majority of voters turned in a mail-in ballot. But like other voting centers, prepare for what they called an "internal audit" where they begin to receive ballots from all over the county.

"We’re going to have a team of about twenty people, they’re going to separate the ballots, they’re going to sort them, make sure they’re in correct order, run them through the scanning machines," said Francisco Diaz, San Benito Assistant County Clerk-Recorder.

The scanning machines pick up on common mistakes like incorrect bubbling, missing or invalid signatures and kicks the ballot out. At that point, they determine the voter's intent.

"If it’s clear that the voter's intent was option A, we’re then going to affirm that decision and tell the computer, the voter wants to do option A, and then we have supervisor affirm that decision,” said Diaz.

Republicans are already making claims, however, of a possible rigged election.

The favorite in the race, Larry Elder, has already launched a website for people to report voter fraud but San Benito County reaffirms to the public that their process is thorough to make sure fraud does not occur.

"We can reassure the voters of San Benito County that every possible measure is taken here to ensure that there is no discrepancies and there isn’t any irregularities," said Diaz.

San Benito County Elections says last year that people voiced their concerns over the transparency of the 2020 Presidential Elections in the county. Since then, they have made a few changes to increase transparency in the voting process.

"We actually live cast our ballot night counting. we live cast as we’re running the ballots as we’re signature checking and we also are inviting a lot of people in the community to come and do tours," said Diaz.

One voter in San Benito County says he appreciates the efforts in increasing transparency.

"He’s doing a good job as far as he can within his power to make those changes to be more transparent. Especially his efforts to go out and canvas and correct issues that pop up with signature verification," said Stuart Morrison.  

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Stephanie Aceves

Stephanie Aceves is a former multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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