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California recall supporters fuel ‘rigged’ vote claims

The Central Valley has long been a stronghold for Red California. And on Tuesday, loud voices were raised in favor of the recall as some election workers faced taunts over unfounded Conservative allegations of electoral fraud.

The Fig Garden Loop neighborhood in Fresno is known for its large houses and courtyards full of fruit trees. Old money. Former farmers and ranchers. The polling station was at a company called Elite Venues.

After her shift, Election Supervisor Rebekah Doughty said her lip ached from biting it so hard, as nearly half of the voters who came went to fight.

“They came in just baiting, ‘How many dead are voting here?’ “

“They questioned the pens. They said the machines didn’t read our type of pens.

“They pointed out the Dominion machines and said they were the center of the fraud.”

The workers were trained to respond that there were several steps in place to ensure the security of the votes and they were invited to come to the counting center and watch.

Doughty worked in the primary and general elections, but said it was by far the most tense and problematic. She was glad she did.

“It’s going to give me goosebumps to explain it,” she said. “But I believe in the right to vote. I think it must be accessible. If we lose the sanctity and trust of our democracy – which is the vote – then we are not a state for or by the people. “

Doughty returned to Fresno from the Bay Area four years ago, and she’s worried about California. “Before, we had the opportunity to dialogue. I had Republican friends and we had romantic discussions with both sides willing to listen.

“In recent years, no one wants to listen. That’s all ‘the system is rigged.’ They don’t trust the system, but they always participate, ”she said.

She thinks the recall election was frivolous and a waste. “We don’t need to spend money on a recall election a year after an election when there are so many other things: schools, hospitals, health care, social justice and, yes, nests -of chicken ! I had to fix my car several times, ”Doughty said.

Self-described worker and business owner Jeff Kindler drove to his polling station in Fresno in a white work truck for his window repair business.

He wanted to vote to recall Governor Gavin Newsom himself.

“I certainly don’t like postal voting. I’ve been doing it in person my whole life, ”he said, adding that voting is“ one of the most important things you can do as an American ”.

Kindler mocked poll workers asking him to lick the envelope to seal his ballot.

“I’m not the brightest guy, but you worry about COVID and have people licking envelopes? “

He said the recall election was a waste of money, and blamed it on Newsom’s decision to dine at an upscale restaurant in the heart of the Napa Valley wine country as the pandemic wore on. rage at the end of last year.

“If he hadn’t gone to the French laundry, it wouldn’t have happened. People saw this and they were pissed off. Here he was depositing $ 15,000 for a 50 year old man’s birthday party and during that time I couldn’t go to my friend’s funeral, ”he said.

Kindler is not passionate about any of the candidates vying to replace Newsom. He just wants “someone who is going to handle it better,” he said.

In Bakersfield, Elsy Ruiz seeks change.

“Homelessness. Criminality. I just don’t feel safe anymore, ”said Ruiz, 46, of Bakersfield. “The gas is so high right now. It became a choice between a gallon of milk or gasoline.

Ruiz has lived in Bakersfield since 1992 and said she saw on TV how things got worse in the state. She wouldn’t even consider visiting Los Angeles – a developing country is better off, she said.

The tipping point was how Governor Gavin Newsom handled the pandemic. He ordered closures and caused businesses to close, she said.

“It was the icing on the cake,” she said.

It got so bad that she visited Texas and Arizona over the summer to see where she could move with her husband after she turned 18. On Election Day at Bakersfield College’s Norman Levan Center, Ruiz voted to recall him. She believes GOP nominee and talk show host Larry Elder would help point the Golden State in a better direction.

“Elder has a different point of view,” she said. “Let’s try something new.”

Marcum reported from Fresno; Vega from Bakersfield.