SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Santa Clara County’s Registrar of Voters is gearing up for a potential increase in poll observers during the upcoming election, after President Donald Trump urged his supporters to go to the polls on election night and watch them very closely.”
“This is not going to end well,” Trump said during the debate with former Vice President Joe Biden.
Mr. Trump cast doubts that ballots would be counted correctly and then issued a call to action for his supporters.
“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it,” he said.
In Santa Clara County, the Registrar of Voters says that’s not a problem.
“We’re definitely not worried about mass people. We’re encouraging a lot of people to go to the vote centers, we want people to come out and vote. Observers are always welcome,” said Evelyn Mendez, spokesperson with the Registrar of Voters.
The ROV says elections are intended to be a completely open and transparent process.
Anyone who registers can go into the ballot processing areas.
“There are actually lines on the floor so they have to stay in a certain area. They can’t get close enough to the ballots where they see any signatures,” Mendez said.
Observers can also go to the ballot counting room to watch the ballots be counted from the outside of the room through windows.
“These are our robots that help with the ballot counting and they can stay in this area and watch what’s happening,” Mendez said.
But observers must not attempt to interfere with workers or sway voters, Mendez said.
On Thursday, an election worker measured the distance that people with candidate signs, banners T-shirts or hats must stay back from the polling place at the ROV headquarters.
That’s called electioneering and it’s not allowed within 100 feet of any polling place.
Mendez said election staff will be watching closely.
“They have instructions on what to do. They have a hotline number to call our management, staff escalates it if they need to or they can call 911,” she said.
One couple on Thursday came in to the Registrar of Voters to verify their signatures to make extra sure their vote will be counted. The couple said they don’t mind if crowds come to observe, as long as it’s peaceful.
“I would not at all be intimidated by someone watching me vote. I may even ask them why they’re here,” the voter said.
KPIX 5 asked another voter if she trusted the system.
“Yes. I have no reason not to be,” she said.