Capitol Alert

While Trump warns of ‘rigged’ process, Padilla keeps faith in county officials

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla gestures while speaking before the state Democratic Party convention in San Jose. “There’s no other fundamental right we have as citizens that requires you to register or fill out a form,” Padilla said as he pushed automatic registration.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla gestures while speaking before the state Democratic Party convention in San Jose. “There’s no other fundamental right we have as citizens that requires you to register or fill out a form,” Padilla said as he pushed automatic registration. AP

With Donald Trump’s deepening warnings about a “rigged” presidential campaign, and renewing doubts about the legitimacy of the democratic process, California’s election chief said Sunday that he has great faith in the state’s county election officials and its thousands of volunteer poll workers.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla said his office has issued advisories to county election officials outlining rules and responsibilities for polling place observers. He plans to deploy Election Day observers throughout the state to respond to issues as needed.

“I expect Californians will go to the polls on Nov. 8 and cast their ballots free from intimidation – our voters, poll workers, and democracy deserve no less,” Padilla said in a written statement to The Bee.

His remarks came after Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday that the election is “absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”

The Republican presidential candidate previously told supporters they should travel to areas outside their own and “watch” on Election Day.

Appearing Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich advised Trump backers to monitor polling places to ensure the election is not “stolen.” Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, another Trump supporter, said on CNN that there are places in the country, including Philadelphia and Chicago, where residents have been notorious for “stealing votes.”

“There have been places where a lot of cheating has gone on over the years,” he said. “Dead people generally vote for Democrats, rather than Republicans.”

The sowing of doubts in the system is stirring concern from voting-rights advocates and elections officials about voter intimidation. Padilla, in his statement, stressed that polling place observers must comply with the law.

“This means not interfering with the important work poll workers are engaged in and, just as importantly, not harassing or intimidating any voter exercising their right to cast a ballot,” he said.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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