The campaigns for Napa County assessor-recorder-clerk and registrar of voters launched initial news releases this month, with candidate Brian Kelly attempting to capitalize on a national report on delays in vote counting.
Kelly, who is running to unseat longtime incumbent John Tuteur, issued a news release contending that the report, from the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, highlighted deficiencies in Napa County’s elections process.
Specifically, Kelly said the long wait Napa County residents endured to get the final results of the local elections in November 2012 requires reform. The results were not finalized until three weeks after Election Day, and no interim counts were issued during that period.
“We need to reform Napa County voting procedures to reduce wait times, speed up election reporting, and ensure transparency in order to solve 28-year-old problems in Napa’s voting administration,” Kelly said in the release.
He also emphasized reforms recommended in the commission’s report, which included increased access to online voter registration and earlier voting, better electronic voting equipment, and sharing voter registration records with other states to prevent fraud.
In the fallout of the 2012 election, Tuteur said he would begin offering an interim count to residents.
Last fall, Tuteur announced that his office would be able to offer an interim count consisting of 90 to 95 percent of the votes cast eight to 10 days before the final vote is certified.
That will be done for the June 3 primary this year, as well as the November general election, he said.
Tuteur has emphasized accuracy in the ballot counts and ensuring every citizen’s vote is counted, while making the process of voting easier for residents.
“It is my duty as registrar of voters to assist every eligible voter to register, every registered voter to cast a ballot and to make sure every vote counts,” Tuteur said in a news release announcing his filing for re-election.
“I appreciate the trust Napa County voters have placed in me for the past 36 years, and I look forward to helping the county and our residents meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
Tuteur served on the Board of Supervisors from 1973 to 1981. He was elected the county assessor in 1987 and added additional duties in the late 1990s. He was challenged in 2010, but easily defeated his opponent, Dan Brauning, in the primary.
But Kelly said the county is still among the last in the state to finalize its elections results.
“Of 15 similar California counties using the same technology, Napa reports last,” Kelly said. “As an elected official, it is the Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk’s responsibility to ensure the efficient management of county resources and the timely reporting of election results.”