Board signals comfort with formation of election integrity commission

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Diane Sieker photo

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors directed the Riverside County Executive Office to weigh options for the formation of a citizen-run commission that would evaluate future countywide elections and report on issues that need to be addressed during its Tuesday, March 10, meeting.

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries proposed the Executive Office’s 30-day study of the possible establishment of a “Citizens Commission on Election Integrity,” and his colleagues supported it, though Supervisor Karen Spiegel wondered aloud about a lack of “definition” concerning the commission’s duties.

Spiegel also worried about redundancy, since the county already has an ad hoc committee – on which she and Supervisor Chuck Washington serve – to monitor operations within the Office of the Registrar of Voters.

Jeffries said the commission would not tread on the ad hoc committee’s functions, but would simply allow residents outside of government to “find better ways of improving efficiencies and operations, look at the training of volunteers, the training of county employees – anything to make the process better.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have elected officials on the commission. Just citizens,” the supervisor said.

During the primary election last week, complaints surfaced regarding voter records at polling stations. Assembly member Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, voiced concerns on her Twitter page, noting that registered voters ahead of her were having to use provisional ballots because their names weren’t on rolls.

Melendez is headed to a May 12 special election to fill the 28th Senate District seat. Her opponent will be one of two Democrats, whose status will be confirmed after the election results are finalized.

According to Jeffries’ proposal, the Citizens Commission on Election Integrity might be composed of individuals appointed by each supervisor, and the members would be asked to submit semiannual or annual reports based on their findings, he said.

The Executive Office is expected to return with recommendations by mid-April.