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Santa Clarita City Council to consider greater ballot security

Posted: January 12, 2014 2:57 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2014 2:57 p.m.

Should Santa Clarita officials add another layer of security for ballots cast in City Council races by placing cameras to watch areas where those ballots are stored?

That’s a question Santa Clarita City Council members are expected to take up at the council meeting Tuesday evening.
The issue was raised at the Nov. 12 City Council meeting by Councilman TimBen Boydston, who said he has heard from some citizens who were concerned about the security of ballots in city elections.

Three seats are up for grabs in the April 8 council election, which features a crowded field of at least 11 candidates.

To address citizens’ concerns, Boydston suggested placing a camera in the room where ballots are kept, a suggestion that could be implemented if the council wishes, according to a report from city staff.

The most cost-effective option, according to the report, would be installing one or more Internet-based cameras, which would allow for continuous surveillance of the room where ballots are kept in Santa Clarita City Hall.

“Recent advances in video surveillance technology since the last election now provides the city with an option that is both viable and cost-efficient,” reads the report. “This specific solution can be easily deployed by staff and costs approximately $500 per camera.

“The system provides for long-term video storage, and incorporates a digital video recorder to access and replay video, which is date- and time-stamped,” the report continues.

If council members approve the option, the system could be in place before March 10, which is the first day ballots can be sent out to those who vote by mail — the favored method of voting among those who cast ballots.

Even without such a video surveillance system, city ballots are subject to stringent security measures.

Cast ballots are secured in a locked room in City Hall.

Ballots are kept in cabinets, each of which is secured by two locks that each require a different key to open.

None of those keys is held by the same person, and typically two people are in the presence of the ballots any time they’re unlocked.

City Hall also has video surveillance at its three entrances.

Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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