Assistant county counsel Ross Trindle, left, and Registrar of Voters, right, address the Riverside County Board of Supervisors during the April 9 meeting.
Assistant county counsel Ross Trindle, left, and Registrar of Voters, right, address the Riverside County Board of Supervisors during the April 9 meeting. (Alicia Ramirez/TN News)

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously voted to receive the certified results for the March 5 presidential primary election as presented by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters (ROV).

According to Ross Trindle, assistant county counsel, the role of the supervisors is to receive and file the official canvass of the votes and declare those with the highest number of votes either elected or nominated, which allows the election process to move forward.

“There’s a misunderstanding that the Board of Supervisors is the body that certifies the election, and that’s not accurate,” Ross Trindle, assistant county counsel, said. “Under California law, the registrar of voters is the election official and certifies the election.”

Registrar of Voters Art Tinoco, in his presentation, said there are more than 1.3 million active registered voters on the Riverside County voter rolls, of which 409,269, or roughly 31%, voted in the primary.

“The registrar of voters certified the March 5, 2024, election on April 4 of 2024,” Tinoco said. “I’d like to note that the ROV fulfilled the requirements outlined in the California Elections Code 15302 during the official canvass and before certification.”

According to Tinoco, there were approximately 31 ballots postmarked prior to March 5 that were received by the ROV after the March 12 deadline and an estimated 5,000 ballots postmarked after March 5 that were not counted.

“I’d like to point out that voters were informed of the postmark deadline through various sources such as our county voter information guide,” Tinoco said. “Our vote by mail envelopes contain the same information.”

For the March 5 election, Tinoco said the ROV mailed out the county voter information guide in both English and Spanish on Jan. 27 to all registered voters. On Feb. 5, more than 1.3 million vote-by-mail ballots were mailed out to registered voters who could begin mailing in or dropping off their ballots at more than 100 sites across the county that day.

Tinoco said voters also had the option of voting in person starting Feb. 5 at the office of the Registrar of Voters, February 24 at 17 additional sites throughout the county and March 2 at an additional 131 sites across the county.

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Ahead of Election Day, Tinoco said his office conducted public logic and accuracy testing of the voting machines and provided numerous ways for the public to get involved in the process including an election observer tour, community outreach events and a media tour, which TN News attended.

“Election transparency and voter education is paramount to our office,” Tinoco said.

In an email to The Record, Elizabeth Florer, public information officer for the ROV, said the office did not experience any issues with the election. During his presentation, Tinoco said the success of the election was due to the work of 44 permanent ROV staff, approximately 1,500 election officers and 1,000 temporary employees, county staff and election observers. 

“This is one of the best executed elections we’ve had in a very long time,” Supervisor Karen Spiegel said. “You have done a tremendous job.”

Members and supporters of New California State gathered outside of the Riverside County Administration Center ahead of the April 9 Board of Supervisors meeting. (Alicia Ramirez/TN News)

Following Tinoco’s presentation, more than a dozen speakers addressed the board, many of them calling on the supervisors to reject the certification of the election as “full, true and correct,” while still declaring those who received the most votes either elected or nominated. Many of the speakers also called on the board to conduct an audit of not only the March 5 election, but also the 2022 general election.

“I believe the revised motions can be a win-win proposition for the board,” Jack Guerrero, who was unsuccessful in his campaign against Board Chair Chuck Washington, said. “It enables you to fulfill your obligation under the Elections Code without technically approving the registrar’s assertion that the results are full, true and correct and, most consequentially, to commit to an independent forensic examination to converge on truth and remediation wherever the facts…may lead.”

After asking additional questions, including details about why ballots might be delayed in transit from the United States Postal Service to the ROV, the board unanimously approved the staff recommended motions.

“We won’t give up on striving to get a perfect election,” Washington said. “We may never get there, but we won’t stop trying for that.”

A full recording of the meeting can be found here on the county’s website.

TN News is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet providing Riverside County with high-quality journalism free of charge. We’re able to do this because of the generous donations of supporters like you!

Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.

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