County postpones presentation by elections office

Jan. 28—Kern's Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to postpone a presentation by the county elections office on what it needs and where it stands following a month-long recount.

The delay, granted at the request of its Registrar of Voters Aimee Espinoza, came after the board's Dec. 13 request that she prepare an assessment of what her office needs in order to improve future elections.

"On that same day, my office received a recount request for state Senate District 16," Espinoza said. "The initial request, along with the second request took a month to complete." Results from the 16th District recount were finally posted Jan. 17.

Also delayed was a board vote on whether to proceed with a one-year renewal of licenses and maintenance for Dominion voting machines. A decision on whether to fund the voting service through the 2023-24 fiscal year was removed from the board's agenda in December at the request of District 1 Supervisor Philip Peters.

"Basically we just want to know what (Espinoza's divisions's) needs are and how we can help make our process quicker," Supervisor Jeff Flores said. "Is it resources? New equipment? Do they need a new sorter? Do they need a performance audit? How can we position our election division to be better?"

A group of residents attending Tuesday's meeting expressed concern that using the machines could jeopardize the election process. Elections officials have repeatedly told the community that Dominion machines are secured with 24-hour surveillance and lack evidence of malfunction.

"The people who are here, they are concerned citizens," said Espinoza, who also serves as the county's auditor-controller. "They're concerned with their country and I appreciate that."

Espinoza said she intends to bring more transparency to the elections division, which was a promise she made during her election campaign.

"I believe that education is really key to this process," she said. "And having people understand what the election process really is and what goes into it."