RANCHO SANTA FE — During the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s October monthly board meeting, ballots were counted at one end of the room by election inspector, Bruce Bishop, and his team. The tabulations from this community-wide vote indicated that from a total of 932 ballots submitted, 704 members voted to approve the proposed new and amended changes to the Association’s articles and bylaws while 226 members opposed it. A total of two votes were deemed as voided.
Some of the article and bylaw changes included complying with Davis-Stirling and California Corporations Code, eliminating inconsistencies in the articles, bylaws and laws, removing the nominating committee, and simplifying member voter registration. Another item was that a Covenant property owner of record was entitled to two votes.
During the early portion of the board meeting, RSF Association President Fred Wasserman introduced Bishop who explained a little bit about the voting process, which was determined by California State Law.
According to Bishop, having ballots being mailed out 30 days prior to the election or the process that there are three envelopes is state law. And it’s also state law to verify signatures.
Bishop explained that as soon as the ballots go out, he and his team are the only ones to have access to the post office key.
“We collect the ballots on a regular basis. We do not open them. The only thing that we do is verify the signatures against those signatures that are on file in the Association office, and that’s our first step,” he said.
Bishop said the second step is the day of tabulation which the Association identified as that day.
“We will open the boxes for the first time and we will remove the actual ballots from the ballot mailing envelopes,” he said. “After we’ve removed those, we’ll open up each one of the ballots one at a time and tabulate either yes or no, and then we’ll report the results to the Board. It’s pretty simple.”
Wasserman then confirmed with Bishop that no one from the Association has touched those ballots.
Bishop confirmed this while adding that the law does not allow any other person other than the inspector of an election and the team of the inspector of an election to have any access to the ballots. And this includes from the time they are printed until the time of tabulations.
“Nobody else has any access to the ballots. They are always locked up,” said Bishop, adding how the keys were only in his possession so no one else has any influence over the ballots.
Following the tabulations, RSF Association Director Allen Finkelson wanted to know what would now happen to the ballots.
Bishop explained that the ballots are kept for a number of years per statute.
“They are sealed in a box and I sign the box,” he said. “Only the inspector of the elections has access to those ballots from now on.”