Re: 'Should a taxing agency be counting votes?' [Village News 9/26/19]

 

Last updated 10/4/2019 at 1:27pm



This is a great question, so please allow me to clarify any misunderstanding and explain the process that is in place for counting ballots. The short answer, of course, is “no;” the ballot counting procedure for Proposition A will not be administered by the North County Fire Protection District; nor will the official ballot contain the voter’s name or address. I will share the process that will be followed.

Ballots will be sent to every registered voter throughout the district, using a voter registration list provided through the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office.

North County Fire has contracted with a third-party firm to count the votes; this firm has provided these services elsewhere and without challenge. The Fire Protection District office is simply a repository and was selected precisely so that our community would recognize that the election material is, in fact, valid.

The name of each voter will be included on the return, pre-paid envelope that voters will use for returning their ballot; by law, this envelope will have to be signed in order for their ballot to be counted. All ballots will be kept in a lock-box until the third party firm picks them up on Election Day.


This third-party firm will verify the signature of each voter, which is also required by law; once verified, the ballot, which will not include the voter’s name or address, will be removed from the envelope and kept separate from the envelope; thus, how each individual actually votes will remain completely confidential.

Members of a citizen oversight committee will be encouraged to be present when the ballots are opened, tabulated and counted, to the extent permitted by law.

North County Fire and the third-party firm have been in constant contact with the county registrar’s office to ensure the election procedures are compliant and transparent; as a result, the process we are using is virtually identical to the process of counting ballots that is employed by the county.

We invite all to visit our website at http://www.ncfire.org and select the “Prop. A” tab on our homepage to get all the facts regarding this important measure.

Stephen Abbott

Fire Chief of North County Fire Protection District

 

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