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Voting problems, fraud, scandals plague polling places across America: California
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Voting problems, fraud, scandals plague polling places across America: California

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CALIFORNIA – November 15, 2018

As USA Really has reported, four ballots from the exact same voter were recently found in Alameda County, California.

James Bradley, a U.S. Senate candidate from California said it may be due to the law passed by the state that allowed for mail-in and provisional ballots to be machine counted instead of being individually verified.

According to him, “Since the safeguard of signature verification was nullified, Democratic mail-ins and provisionals have vastly increased.”

At UC San Diego, voters witnessed various unusual occurrences take place, including a widespread lack of ballots at the polls and the unannounced closing of a traditional mail ballot drop-off location.

Four polling locations at UCSD ran out of English ballots by late afternoon. In the Mariposa Room, the polling location for Muir College, student poll worker Chris Doherty reported that English and Spanish ballots had run out by 2:40 p.m. The location received 50 more English ballots just 30 minutes before the polls closed at 8:00 p.m. Student poll workers also reported that the Sixth College polling location ran out of English ballots by approximately 4:50 p.m. The Price Center polling location, which only accepted provisional and absentee voting, ran out of provisional ballots by 6 p.m., and the Village polling site only had Korean ballots available for students by 6:30 p.m.

First-year student Noah Nadeu was forced to vote in Chinese. “I got a mail-in ballot but it was in Chinese and I was a little confused at first. I then went to the Sixth College polling location to try and get a ballot in English but they had run out, so I had to use an English voting guide to translate and then vote on the ballot in Chinese.”

Another first-year student, Priscilla Ramos, had very recently turned 18. She planned on registering and voting on Election Day at the Village polling site, since California voter law allows same-day registration. But when she arrived at her polling location in the Village, she learned that the location had run out of English provisional ballots and she would need to go to the Price Center location instead. There, she was told Price Center had also run out of the ballots and redirected once again to a government polling place. Ramos was not told which government polling places would accept her, and she did not have transportation to get to such a location.

She ended up not casting a vote on Election Day, The Triton reported.

One significant difference in voting this year at UCSD compared to the last midterm election was the unannounced closing of the mail-in ballot drop-off site usually located in Price Center. The drop-off site had been set up at Price Center since the 2016 primary election to accommodate vote-by-mail voters who wished to drop off their ballots prior to Election Day. The site gained popularity during the 2016 general election among UCSD students, faculty, and staff because the early-vote method didn’t require students to pay, whereas mail ballots have required postage.

In Martinez, a couple said they were given the wrong provisional ballots during Tuesday’s election. Now the two are wondering if their votes for incumbent District 4 Council member, Debbie McKillop will be counted.

The situation started when the couple, April and Jeff McKillop, mistook their vote-by-mail ballots for sample ballots, and went to their longtime polling place to vote last Tuesday.

April McKillop, the incumbent Councilman’s sister-in-law, said she and her husband Jeff, who is the Councilman’s brother, consider themselves average Martinez residents who didn’t realize they were in District 4, although an elections divisions website check of their home address confirmed their home indeed is there.

The pair went individually to the polls Tuesday afternoon, April voting first while Jeff watched their child. April and Jeff knew they were supposed to see McKillop’s name on the provisional ballots they were given at Alhambra High School, historically the place they were to vote.

Instead, their provisional ballot had District 1 Council member Lara DeLaney’s name instead.

April said she told a poll worker there had been a mistake. “My sister-in-law’s name is not on this list. She’s the incumbent. Can I switch this page and get the right one?” she recounted her conversation with the poll worker.

But, she said, poll workers told the couple to write in their candidate’s name and that the city had sent randomly sent out vote-by-mail ballots to voters, and that they should visit the Elections Division at 555 Escobar St. to decline vote-by-mail in the next election and to call later to make sure their votes were counted.

“They gave me the wrong paperwork and the wrong information,” April said. “I’m upset as a voter that my vote for my sister (-in-law) may not count,” she told to Martinez Gazette.

After her meeting with elections officials, McKillop said she still is concerned that incorrect ballots might have been distributed elsewhere, not just at the high school polling place. However, the officials said it has ways to investigate the situation. “I’m confident that will happen,” she said.

Officials told her that some of those receiving mailed ballots had not followed instructions, and because voting by district is new, some voters were confused.

Changes in rules, the growing use of mail ballots and efforts to ensure that more people get a chance to vote, and the fact that all the ballots cast are counted have stretched the election night tally deep into November, the San Francisco Chronicle writes.

“We’re in a rush to get everything done by Thanksgiving,” said John Arntz, San Francisco’s elections director.

Then there’s the problem that while more Californians are getting their ballots in the mail, they don’t all feel compelled to mail them back.

In San Francisco, 67,000 mail ballots were turned in at the polls on election day. “That’s about 13% of the city’s 503,000 registered voters,” Arntz said.

Statewide, the bulk of uncounted ballots are mail ballots that arrived too late to be tallied on election day.

“That’s about 40% of the turnout,” said Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc., which collects and analyzes voter information. “We’ve never had an election that was so heavily weighted toward late ballots.”

Recent changes in election rules have made it both easier to vote and more difficult to count those votes quickly.

Mail ballots postmarked by election day are now counted if they arrive by the next Friday. In this election, San Francisco received 20,000 mail ballots Wednesday. Those votes, which would have been rejected in the past, were added to the city’s tally.

For the first time this year, counties are required to inform voters when there’s a problem with a mailed ballot, whether it’s a missing signature or one that doesn’t seem to match the signature on file. Voters have time to make the needed change, even after the election.

In San Francisco alone, there were more than 500 ballots returned without signatures for this election. Instead of rejecting them, officials had the voters come in and sign their ballots, making them part of the count.

California also has some of the most liberal ballot access laws in the country, provisions that allow supporters to qualify local and statewide initiatives and propositions. The mishmash of local ballot measures, and the huge number of candidates vying for everything from a seat on a town council to the governor's mansion, means counties must create many different ballots for different sets of voters.

In San Diego County, there are 594 different ballot combinations, said Michael Vu, the registrar of voters in San Diego County.

In some states, low-level election workers can eliminate a ballot if they believe a signature does not match; in California, several more layers of increasingly senior officials inspect a ballot, in an effort to count as many as possible, The Hill reports.

California gets much criticism for the time it can take to decide a close election and a certification process that doesn’t provide the final election numbers until early in December, the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

Author: USA Really