An Orange County Grand Jury report critical of the county's registrar of voters office has concluded that efforts should be made to ensure that people calling the agency don't get a busy signal.
The report, released this week, said the office also should make poll workers aware of coming electronic balloting procedures, as well as ensure that polling places at schools and churches provide designated parking spots for the disabled and entrance signs that are more visible.
"Most jurors, when going to a polling place with which they were not familiar, couldn't see the signs because they were fairly small," said Dee Mehta, the grand juror heading the study.
Steve Rodermund, the county's interim registrar, said the report's findings will be investigated and that some of the problems may be outside the purview of his office.
"The busy signals belong to Pac Bell, not us," Rodermund said, adding, "We can't really agree or disagree until we do some research. Once we get the research done, we will present it to the [county's] CEO."
Mehta said the report stemmed from an earlier grand jury recommendation that the number of phone lines going into the office for use by the public seeking information be increased from 48 to 72. The actual increase was even greater, so jurors wanted to know whether efficiency had been improved. Thirteen grand jurors visited various polling places Nov. 5, Mehta said, and when they tried the phone lines, many got busy signals. Many jurors also noted a lack of parking spaces for the disabled and difficulty finding the polling places.
"The task of organizing 1,750 polling places and training more than 7,000 people for a short-term operation is monumental," the report acknowledged. "The system ... is still not meeting the needs during the peak activities just prior to and on election day."