SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Making sure this election is safe and secure is the top priority for the California Secretary of State’s Office.
“Nearly 9 million people already have their ballots in,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
Padilla said his office and county elections officials across the state are taking steps to ensure voters are safe and ballots are protected.
So far in early voting, Padilla said there have been no concerns of voter harassment or intimidation at the polls.
Last month, his office sent an unprecedented memo to county elections officials rehashing voter intimidation laws and consequences as discussions ramp up on “poll watchers.”
“Folks who are there to observe cannot interfere with the administration of elections, and certainly they can’t cross the line to try and harass or intimidate somebody trying to exercise their right to vote,” Padilla said. “Elections supervisors are trained to make sure the election goes smoothly, including being trained on deescalate, maybe, some tense situations.”
The secretary of state said law enforcement is on standby.
“But that is never the first step in responding to an incident,” he explained. “Every incident may be a little different. We hope to nip it in the bud.”
With about 40% of ballots already returned, Padilla said county elections officials are working to keep those secure.
“Ballots are maintained in high security areas,” Padilla said. “Only official people have access to these type of rooms, they have multiple locks, et cetera.”
Elections officials have just days left to keep those safeguards in place before the counting begins.