Elections integrity – How to know your vote counts, Tulare County Voices@210 holds forum January 9

Did your dinner conversation this holiday include election hacking, fraud, and stuffing the ballot box? Or do your family and friends have faith in our electoral system?

Tulare County Voices @ 210, a monthly forum that discusses consequential topics in the community, will explore the integrity of Tulare County elections in its January program and why you should feel confident that your vote is counted and matters.

The forum, “Elections integrity: How to know your vote counts,”  is co-sponsored by First Presbyterian Church and the Visalia Times-Delta and will be on January 9, 2024 at 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 210 W. Center Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The forum is free and open to everyone.

The purpose of this forum is to educate the public about the election process, assure them that it is trustworthy, and that voters can be confident their vote counts. It will also examine resources that provide information you can trust to make an informed decision on how to vote.

The panel will include Tulare County Registrar of Voters Michelle Baldwin, Poll Worker Judi Ellebracht, League of Women Voters Maile Melkonian, and Reggie Ellis, Publisher of Mid-Valley News.

The forum is designed to explain the answer to this question:  What are the safeguards in place to ensure your vote counts and there is no corruption? As always, Tulare County Voices @ 210 encourages questions and interaction with the audience.

Baldwin will describe the integrity of Tulare County’s voting systems and explain the process of mailing ballots to the public, collecting them, and counting them.

During her discussion she will explain the purpose of provisional ballots, how mail-in ballots are processed, the technology behind the voting machines, and answer the questions such as, What are the safeguards against hacking? Explain the “Where’s my ballot?” initiative and address how concerned should voters be about interference in the elections?

Judi Ellebracht, a seasoned poll worker who has boots-on-the-ground experience, will go through the security checklists conducted at every polling place, relate the laws on what can and can’t be done at a polling place, the oath of voters, and other elements that ensure that every vote counts.

Melkonian, from the League of Women Voters, will present tools for voters to use to educate themselves on propositions and candidates. She will also discuss the level of voter participation and illustrate why every vote matters, especially for local offices such as city council or school districts.

Ellis will talk about the role of the media in preserving the integrity of elections and discuss the issue of information versus disinformation. How can voters assess information they receive? What can they trust? What is the role of the media in explaining issues? How do the media decide which sources of information they can trust?

This forum will be live streamed and then posted on the Facebook page for First Presbyterian Church of Visalia.

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