County Elections calls allegations about polling place false
The polling location that was set up at Isla Vista Community Center has become the subject of criticism from a few prominent local Republicans, alleging that electioneering was allowed at the polling place on Election Day.
The Santa Barbara County Elections Office said the allegations are false.
In an interview with the News-Press, Santa Barbara County Republican Party chairwoman Bobbi McGinnis alleged that voters were allowed to walk into a polling place with a voter guide showing exclusively Democratic Party candidates.
According to a few witnesses, the Democratic slates were handed out at a table near the polling place. The table was more than 100 feet away from the polling place in accordance with state election laws.
Santa Barbara County Clerk, Recorder, Assessor and Registrar of Voters Joe Holland said that voters walking in with a piece of paper showing only Democratic candidates does not rise to the level of electioneering, so long as they are not showing the voter guides to anyone else.
“As long as they’re not displaying it to other voters, then that’s fine. In fact, it’s preferred because that way they can get through the voting process quicker,” Mr. Holland stated.
According to the county’s Polling Place Coordinator Guide, electioneering is defined as “the visible display or audible dissemination of information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot.”
Electioneering examples include displays of the name of a candidate or their likeness or logo, buttons, shirts, hats, signs or stickers containing electioneering information, circulating initiatives and referendums, and speaking to voters on the subject of marking ballots, among others.
Denice Spangler Adams, who worked as a poll observer in Isla Vista, objected that the Democratic candidate slate was not only brought in, but that one was left in a booth and found by a voter. She recounted that a young man came up to her with a Democratic Party voter guide in hand, said he had found it in the booth where he was voting, and inquired what it was.
Because voting booths were supposed to be cleaned immediately after use, Mr. Holland was doubtful of Ms. Adams’ assertion.
“In this election, it would hot have stayed in there for even 30 seconds, because we cleaned up every booth after every voter,” he said
Ms. Adams also claimed that some college-aged people came up to her and asked if they could just vote for the president, or if they had to vote for every single candidate listed on the Democratic slate they picked up.
Ms. Adams said she was shocked by their lack of civics knowledge and thought to herself, “These are the educated college kids of Santa Barbara?”
She added, “It just shows our country’s sinking fast. I couldn’t believe the ignorance.”
According to Ms. McGinnis, there was a non-egregious and accidental case of electioneering at the Westside Neighborhood Center polling place due to a house located within 100 feet of the polling location displaying a Biden-Harris sign. The sign was moved out of sight of the polling location.