Fraud claims elsewhere in US, but Kern vote was ‘quiet,’ ‘routine’

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FILE – In this Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, file photo, poll workers sort out early and absentee ballots at the Kenosha Municipal building on Election Day, in Kenosha, Wis. Republicans are grasping for ways to reverse Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin over President Donald Trump, despite there being no evidence of widespread fraud or voting irregularities in the state. The effort appears aimed at sowing doubt in the election results among Trump supporters ahead of a possible recount. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The president continues to allege fraud and error in the tabulation of votes in several states, and few if any of those claims are gaining traction in courts. What about here in Kern County? Has there been any evidence of fraud or other concerns related to the election?

Not one.

About two weeks before the results have to be turned in to the California Secretary of State, the news at Kern County election headquarters is just this: There’s not really any news. Things are going pretty much as planned and as expected.

But what about all those dead people who received ballots? What about all that election fraud that might have been perpetrated? Congressman Kevin McCarthy laid out one of the possibilities in a victory speech of sorts Tuesday, after he won re-election as the House Republican leader.

“I’ve watched in my own community the number of ballots that were sent to people who were dead, who no longer live there, and others,” he said. “You want the accuracy and I think that’s something we have to be able to work through.”

Kern County Registrar of Voters Mary Bedard said nothing unusual occurred, however, and certainly no dead people voted as far as she can see.

“Whatever we saw in this election is just the normal — you know, what happens in an election,” she said. “So it’s really been actually a fairly quiet, routine (election) — other than the sheer volume” of voters.

But anything is possible, especially when the state sends mail-in ballots to every registered voter, a departure from the norm.

When a registered voter dies, however, he or she is purged from the voter rolls; the elections office gets an update on local deaths roughly every month. So it’s possible family members illegally cast grandpa’s vote the way they’re certain he would’ve wanted. But because the rolls are updated with relative regularly, the chances are slim.

Bedard says she has seen no evidence of fraud — just the usual percentage of challenged ballots, about 1 percent, that require voters to call, write or come in to clear signature or other discrepancies.

The Kern County District Attorney’s office confirms it — no evidence of criminal election fraud.
And McCarthy himself did not speak to any possible fraud.

But the president seems convinced that voter fraud may have cost him the election — despite statements to the contrary by his own Department of Homeland Security. Among the criticisms: the tamper-proof reliability of the Dominion voting system, which is used across the country, including in 40 California counties — Kern among them.

“Dominion … has been certified; it’s been thoroughly tested by the federal government,” Bedard said. “It’s been tested by many states. California has an extremely thorough certification process. So it takes years for companies to get their equipment certified by the Secretary of State.”

More than two weeks after Election Day, the Kern County Elections Division still has more than 22,000 ballots to count, the vast majority of them provisional ballots. Of those, a little over 2,700 are regular mail-ins. If that strikes you as unusually slow compared to other California counties, you are mistaken. The 58-county average of uncounted mail-in ballots is the same — 2,700.

Trump seems to have won handily again in Kern County, currently with 54 percent of the local vote, compared to 53 percent four years ago against Hillary Clinton. Bedard might be a registered Democrat, but she’s only on the side of accuracy when it comes to her job.

So, no dead people voted, no election fraud to speak of, that we can see. Just business as usual.

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