Nearly two dozen Riverside County residents Tuesday called on the Board of Supervisors to stop using a nationwide vendor whose ballot processing units came under scrutiny following the 2020 presidential election, but which county officials said meet all certification standards.
“I have had numerous constituents come to me with concerns about the voting machines and their susceptibility to being manipulated,” Temecula City Councilwoman Jessica Alexander told the board. “Eighty percent of the voting machines in California are from Dominion Voting Systems. This represents a significant potential threat. Other states are eliminating their use. The America we love needs us more now than ever.”
County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer told City News Service the county has utilized Dominion technology since the early 2000s, but when the California Secretary of State’s office de-certified the legacy system provided by the company, the county in 2019 switched to an upgraded suite of products licensed and supplied by Dominion.
“The voting system is certified at both the federal and state levels,” Spencer said. “No part of the Dominion system is connected to the internet, or any other county network. Prior to each election, staff remove and reinstall software and conduct testing for accuracy. All parts of the activities of the election are open to members of the public to observe, including the accuracy testing.”
According to Spencer, the county has 1,500 touchscreen electronic voting units provided by Dominion, as well as 10 high-speed ballot processors to scan paper ballots.
“It is important to note that the touchscreen tablet does not record or count votes or submit votes using digital technology,” she told CNS. “Rather, the touchscreen tablet is a ballot marking device that allows a voter to touch the screen to mark their ballot. The voter’s selections are then printed out onto a paper ballot right next to the tablet. The voter picks up the paper ballot with their selections and then drops the ballot into the ballot box. All ballots in a ballot box are paper.”
Spencer said there are only two “certified voting systems” authorized in California. Dominion was selected based on criteria established by the county.
Despite Spencer’s assurances — and multiple federal investigations that have uncovered no evidence of fraud impacting the 2020 election — speakers at the board meeting called for a change in how elections are conducted.
Mark Hedges called the 2020 presidential election “fraudulent” and blamed not only the electronic voting units, but also the practice of ballot “harvesting,” or permitting third parties to collect and drop off absentee ballots, as well as leaving drop boxes unsecured and at risk of being stuffed with falsified ballots.
“Only United States citizens with proper identification should be allowed to vote,” he said. “The vote should be transparent and counted the same day as the election.”
John Leonard told the board that he and others “don’t feel our votes really count,” while Anita Rose said she was opposed to “Dominion voting machines in every possible way” and called on board members to take on the roles of “wartime statesmen,” fighting for “what is right for your constituents.”
A common thread throughout the nearly hourlong public comment session was reference to independent producer Dinesh D’Souza’s newly released documentary “2,000 Mules,” which relies on an election watchdog’s digital tracking data to capture alleged instances of ballot box stuffing by paid operatives in “swing states” immediately before and during the 2020 presidential election.
Dominion has initiated civil suits in response to the “lies and misinformation” that is says mushroomed following the election in an effort to discredit its equipment. The Toronto, Canada-based company’s tabulation and processing suites remain widely in use across the country.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved an amended contract with Dominion last August, extending use of its software to the 2026-27 fiscal year.
The supervisors in March formally established an Election Advisory Committee, which is slated to be composed of seven volunteers who will submit proposals on how to safeguard the integrity and transparency of local elections.