At a time when there is a lot of political rhetoric about elections, words matter. It is particularly troublesome when an elected official makes unfounded accusations and attacks the integrity of the elections process. Responsible elected officials instill confidence in the electoral process, but Mark Olbert’s letter to the editor (“Third-party audit needed of elections office”) published in the Nov. 7 edition of the Daily Journal, did just the opposite.
As policy makers, we must be very careful with the words we choose, and that responsibility rests with every individual from the President on down to local elected officials.
My administration has brought positive change to San Mateo County Elections. We are recognized as a leader in the state and the nation. We pioneered the first countywide consolidated All-Mailed Ballot Election, we’re leading the way in the implementation of the California Voter’s Choice Act and we were first in the state to implement an Accessible Vote by Mail System for visually impaired voters. All of this has been accomplished with an outdated voting system and severe understaffing.
Positive change isn’t always easy, and it’s never problem-free. Issues occur in every election, in every county and in every state. What matters is how these issues are managed so there is minimal or no impact to the voting process.
The issue referenced in Olbert’s letter was quickly addressed and did not affect anyone’s ability to cast their ballot.
My office prides itself in conducting open, transparent and accurate elections. We regularly provide tours to election observers.
Olbert exhibits a profound lack of understanding of the complexity of elections. Had he taken the time to contact me, I would have been happy to educate him.
Chief Elections Officer
San Mateo County