San Joaquin County tightens security process to reassure voters their ballots are secure – Local News Matters

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With just days remaining for voters to cast their votes in the March 5 primary election, the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters has added security measures to help reduce any concerns of voter fraud.

Registrar of Voters Olivia Hale said the county’s voting system has the option to run a report to see how many voters are registered to an address, which is one step toward determining if something fraudulent may be occurring.

She said her office worked in collaboration with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and came to the decision that if 10 voters are registered to the same residence, they will give them a closer look.

“We keep in mind that the cost of living is high, and we know that blended families do live together,” Hale said.

She said that multiple families living together is not uncommon, therefore they will be looking into more questionable situations or concerns.

Learning from the past

The new security measure came to be after former Lodi City Councilmember Shakir Khan was accused of election fraud during the 2020 elections.

Former Lodi City Councilmember Shakir Khan attends his arraignment at San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton on Feb. 16, 2023. Investigators learned that Khan registered dozens of people to vote at his home using his email and phone number. County election officials are increasing security procedures to prevent similar incidents in the future. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

San Joaquin County Sheriff deputies alleged that during the execution of a 2020 search warrant at Khan’s residence, they found 41 mail-in ballots. They later learned that 23 people were registered to vote at Khan’s home, and 47 others were registered to vote using his email and phone number.

Khan pleaded no contest to charges related to the case in January and is expected to be sentenced later this month.

Two other ways to ease voters’ minds about potential fraud are surveillance cameras placed at dropbox locations. There is also a voter fraud hotline.

Anyone suspecting voter fraud can call the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office at 209-468-4338.

There are 25 dropboxes throughout the county, and on Election Day there will be 153 precincts where people can vote in person, Hale said.

The San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters website states that ballots being sent through the mail must be postmarked on or before Election Day and must be received no later than seven days after the election.

A collection of links to election results, a “where’s my ballot” tool, voter fraud hotline information, poll locations and other information related to the election can be found on the registrar’s website.

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