According to the Los Angeles County registrar’s office, the ballots obtained by the Torrance Police Department were “unopened and unvoted,” spokesman Mike Sanchez told The Epoch Times.
“It is our priority to ensure the security and integrity of all elections in Los Angeles County,” he said. “We’ve identified the voters who were impacted, and we have reissued a new vote by mail ballot to them.”
With some concerns over potential election fraud, Sanchez said every vote by mail ballot is verified by matching the signature on the return envelope with the signature on the voter’s registration database. If verification is successful, the ballot will be tallied on Sept. 14.
The Epoch Times toured the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds where the county is verifying recall ballots, which are received by daily truckloads. With 5.7 million registered voters in the county as of Aug. 30 (about twice the population of Arkansas), Los Angeles County has counted over 900,000 ballots. Sanchez said they’re optimistic they will verify 1 million before the end of the day, on Aug. 31.
During the recall election in 2003, Los Angeles County had a 54 percent voter turnout; 49 percent of residents voted “yes” to the recall while 51 percent voted “no.”
According to Sanchez, the current number of ballots received is a” healthy early push” before the vote centers open in 108 locations on Sept. 4.
To enter the facility, several security measures were implemented to ensure those within the room were documented.
Up to 150 county employees who underwent background checks were scattered among the stations while livestream cameras also monitor the operation.
The building is sectioned off into five different verification stations, beginning from when the ballots arrive at the facility. Once the ballots are sorted, they go through a verification machine that ensures ballot signatures match those on the voter registration database.
If a ballot is damaged or the signature on the envelope doesn’t match the ballot, it will be temporarily discarded, and the registered voter will be notified to fix the errors.
Once the ballots go through the verification process, they’re sent to another facility in Downey where they’re kept before being tallied on Sept. 14. Trucks arrive each day to take the verified ballots to the final location, which is heavily secured, Sanchez said.
In Orange County, spokesman Neal Kelley told The Epoch Times the registrar’s ballot verification system is layered with tiers of protection as well.
“There are multiple layers of protection in place that include checks and balances to ensure only one voter submits a ballot and that the details of the voter record match the single ballot being returned,” Kelley said. “Ballots also have numerous protections that would allow for the detection of duplicate or copies of ballots.”
Receiving fraudulent ballots is not a concern for the county, as Kelley said they are confident in the system they have.
“We have systems in place to detect anomalies in data and never take security for granted,” Kelley said. “We work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to ensure a safe, secure, and reliable system.”
As Orange and Los Angeles County open locations for in-person voting over the next two weeks, voters can still mail in their ballots. Ballots will be accepted up to seven days after Sept. 14 if they’re postmarked by election day.