Kern County has no desire to move the November election to the mailbox.
On Tuesday, the Kern County Board of Supervisors turned down a proposal that would have encouraged California Governor Gavin Newsom to have the upcoming election be 100 percent vote-by-mail.
Kern County Registrar of Voters Mary Bedard spoke to the board about the idea and said the coronavirus pandemic could cause problems for in-person voting.
“With so many of our poll workers being retirees, it will be difficult to recruit the number of poll workers for the hundreds of poll sites we normally have,” Bedard said. “We don’t know yet if a significant amount of in-person voting will even be safe for voters or election workers.”
Bedard said more than 70 percent of the ballots cast in the March election were by mail, so the switch should not be a difficult one.
The majority of supervisors did not share her vision, including District 1 Supervisor Mick Gleason, District 2 Supervisor Zack Scrivner and District 3 Supervisor Mike Maggard.
“I am confident in the integrity of our process,” Maggard said. “What I am not confident in is we are witnessing a changing in the way in which we run the electoral process, and what it makes it more subject to is manipulation.”
District 5 Supervisor and board chairwoman Leticia Perez spoke in favor of the proposal.
“To me, the urban myths around this issue are so over bloated, and I have never been able to actually pinpoint evidence or real truth about any large scale voter fraud,” Perez said. “There is not support to do what you’re asking, which is truly astonishing to me, but I don’t get to make the decisions up here as you know, so it appears as though we do not have a motion.”