EDITOR'S NOTE: Multimedia journalist Sarina Sandoval spoke to Orange County Registrar of Voters' engagement supervisor about getting people to vote and election security. Click the arrow above to watch the video.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — The 2022 midterm election is a week away, but some voters have already turned in their ballots. In Orange County, where two congressional districts are in a tight race, voter turnout will determine which party declares victory.
What You Need To Know
- The Orange County Registrar of Voters reported over 1.8 million registered voters, and so far, 243,310 ballots have been turned in
- Voting centers will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week, and beginning this weekend, hours will expand from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m
- On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- As with any election, the Orange County Registrar of Voters has implemented security measures to ensure all votes are accurately counted
On Tuesday, the Orange County Registrar of Voters reported over 1.8 million registered voters. So far, 243,310 ballots have been turned in. Breaking those down by party affiliation — one week ahead of Nov. 8 — Democrats have submitted 101,830 ballots, Republicans have turned in 88,679 and 43,238 ballots have been submitted by No Party Preference voters.
However, according to the registrar of voters, in Orange County, voters tend to cast a ballot in person on Election Day, but who voters voted for will not be known until Election Night on Nov. 8.
Throughout Orange County, there are now 37 voting centers open, and an additional 144 voting centers will be available starting on Saturday. Voting centers will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week, and beginning this weekend, hours will expand from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
As with any election, the Orange County Registrar of Voters has implemented security measures to ensure all votes are accurately counted.
For example, a team of two trained staff members collects ballots from ballot drop boxes daily. The boxes are bolted into the ground and very strong and made of thick steel. The teams are tracked via GPS and communicate continually with dispatch. Teams are required to snap pictures of each ballot drop box they open. They then take a second picture to ensure the seal has been properly put back in place in order to be removed the next time ballots are collected.
As an added security measure, teams are assigned to different ballot drop boxes daily.
“The sheriff’s department provides staff to help deliver and monitor the delivery of ballots back to our office each day. That’s an added help to have,” said Orange County Registrar of Voters Bob Page.
Page wants to ensure voters the Nov. 8 election will be safe and secure, and in order to be more transparent, the Orange County Registrar of Voters improved their observation program after the primary election.
“We added additional cameras. We added additional monitors so observers could watch some processes they could not get as close to in the past,” said Page.
Those include ballot extraction, ballot sorting, ballot adjudication and ballot scanners.
Page said there have been reports of observers watching staff members’ operation when retrieving ballots at drop boxes, but he has not received reports from voters of being intimidated.
“It appears to me that any observation that is happening is being respectful,” said Page.
Page reminds voters that the election process is transparent.
“They can come and watch what we do throughout the election process. We have live streaming as well,” he said.
So far, there have been no reports of voter fraud, but Page said any reports are forwarded to the district attorney. He is unaware whether the district attorney has prosecuted anyone for voter fraud in Orange County.
Page also pointed out that their system setup, like the machines used to count and tally votes, is not connected to the internet to eliminate the possibility of being hacked.
“In security for elections, you don’t rely on just one method. You are doing a number of things, which is why we have the audits, the tests — to add an additional layer of security,” said Page.
The Orange County Registrar of Voters expects the first batch of results to be reported on Nov. 8 at 8:05 p.m.