Below average start to early voting, D.A. Smittcamp warns against voter fraud

Jessica Harrington Image
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
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Fresno County Registrar of Voters James A. Kus says while the storm is on the forefront of his mind, he doesn't believe it will prevent people from casting their votes.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tuesday is Election Day and all votes must be cast or ballots turned in by 8 pm sharp.

Dozens of voters, some with umbrellas in hand, dropped off their ballots Monday.

Fresno County Registrar of Voters James A. Kus says while the storm is on the forefront of his mind, he doesn't believe it will prevent people from casting their votes.

"I'm expecting, and already seeing, a very good turnout today and I hope on Tuesday." Kus said.

As of Sunday night, Kus says the elections office has processed more than 100,000 ballots, slightly behind the turnout in years' past.

Michelle Baldwin, the Registrar of Voters in Tulare County, says they've also seen a slower start with a little more than 31,000 ballots processed as of Friday.

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"The first week, we had a little over 18,000 ballots that we processed, so I thought we'd get about 20,000 ballots last week, so it is a little lower than I anticipated," Baldwin said.

To make sure every valid vote is counted and ensure an accurate and fair election, the organization California Common Cause plans to have poll monitors in Tulare County Tuesday as part of its Election Protection Program.

Baldwin recently met with the group.

"And, as with all observers and organizations, we welcome them to our polling places to observe, we welcome them here in our offices to observe."

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp says voter fraud cases happen, but, historically, they have been few and far between in Fresno County.

She says her office thoroughly investigates complaints, and cases are filed when there has been purposeful misrepresentation.

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"Voter fraud is a felony and perjury is a felony, identity theft is a felony. So, really, the thing is, just be honest, be upfront. There are so many opportunities to register to vote. Voting is easy now," Smittcamp said.

Vote centers in Fresno County and polling locations in Tulare County are open Tuesday from 7 am to 8 pm.

If you suspect any form of voter fraud is happening, you can call your county elections office or the California Secretary of State has a voter complaint page.