Riverside DA, Elections Chief Lock Horns Over Election Ballots

A long-running feud between Riverside County’s Registrar of Voters, Rebecca Spencer, and District Attorney Michael Hestrin is heating up, with Spencer accusing the top prosecutor of holding onto 91 ballots from the November election for political reasons.

The ballots have been in Hestrin’s custody for three months, the LA Times reports.

Hestrin, a Republican who was elected district attorney in 2014, referred questions from The Times to his investigators who said all of their efforts begin with public complaints. The district attorney lashed out at Spencer in a Feb. 5 letter to county officials for using “inflammatory rhetoric” and making “baseless allegations” about his office’s work.

Hestrin received the ballots on Election Day from the East Valley Republican Women Federated, which was conducting a ballot collection effort. The group’s president said they were believed to be duplicates wrongly sent in the mail. But the group never called the Registrar of Voters. They went straight to Hestrin — “somebody that we trusted.”

Spencer is not convinced the ballots are duplicates because her office hasn’t been able to inspect them. From copies she’s reviewed, at least five appear to have been sent to people who did not vote, suggesting they may have been denied their ballots (Hestrin denied this is the case). Spencer has now hired her own attorney and sent complaints to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

Hestrin and Spencer have been clashing over election security for years.

Read more about the latest dispute here.


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