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City Council ballots receive increased security

Posted: April 2, 2012 5:57 p.m.
Updated: April 2, 2012 5:57 p.m.

Just days after a group of residents complained Santa Clarita was not doing enough to secure absentee ballots, city officials set up a double lock system to protect them.

A locksmith has installed a new lock on the door leading to the election ballot storage room and also installed a second, separate lock on the cabinets where the ballots are stored.

The new lock system means two people must be on hand to open the cabinets.

City policy mandates two people be present when the cabinets are opened, but it was possible for a single person to open them before the change.

The locks were installed Wednesday and Thursday, said City Clerk Sarah Gorman.

On Tuesday night a bipartisan group of residents called for higher security for absentee ballots during the City Council meeting.

"The city was very responsive, and I am delighted," said Carole Lutness, one of the residents who approached the city about the issue.

Besides a request for assurance that two people be on hand to open ballot cabinets, residents asked that the ballots be opened and counted at the same time ballots are counted from polling places.

They also requested a video camera at the entrance to the storage room.

In a memo to council members obtained by The Signal, City Manager Ken Pulskamp said the ballots have always been extremely secure.

"We take ballot security very seriously and believe our current practices have not only been diligent but also have ensured each ballot was handled and tracked in a transparent and well-documented manner," Pulskamp said in his memorandum.

In the last City Council election in 2010, 67 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail or provisionally.

The 2012 City Council election is April 10.




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