(UPDATE) L.A. registrar to re-examine 94,000 DTS ballots
by baudelairien, Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 01:40:14 PM EST
Update [2008-2-7 4:49:32 by baudelairien]: After more than 500 complaints were lodged with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office, acting Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan ordered an examination of more than 94,000 non-partisan ballots that may not have been counted. Of 189,000 votes cast by nonpartisans in Los Angeles County, only half marked a redundant bubble indicating they were voting in a party primary. Ballots without the extra bubble marked were initially uncounted. The confusing ballot has been compared to Florida's infamous "Butterfly Ballot" of the presidential elections of 2000. (sources: Los Angeles Times, L.A. Daily News)
(Original story)"100s of thousands" of votes may be voided in CA: According to the L.A. Daily News, a confusing ballot design in Los Angeles County could cause hundreds of thousands of votes cast by independent voters to be discarded. Parallels are being drawn to the Florida's infamous "Butterfly Ballot" of the presidential elections of 2000.
Update [2008-2-7 4:49:32 by baudelairien]: In contrast to an earlier statement by California Secretary of State spokesperson Kate Folmar that "very few" problems were reported, 500 complaints were reported as registered with Bowen's office by midday Wednesday. Others who tried to report problems said hotlines set up by the Secretary of State and the Los Angeles County Registrar were "swamped". The Los Angeles Times also received complaints. Acting Registrar Logan said he will try to determine whether uncounted ballots could make a difference in the assignment of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. "If we can clearly identify the voters' intent, we will seek legal authority to count those votes."
(Original story) Over 750,000 voters in Los Angeles County registered their party affiliation as "decline-to-state" (DTS) and may not have had their votes counted if they failed to fill in a bubble (in addition to choice of candidate) indicating that they wanted their votes counted for the Democratic primary. Voters who were registered as declined-to-state had to specifically ask for a Democratic ballot, and some overlooked or were confused by the redundant requirement to fill in the bubble. The machines that tabulate the vote do not count ballots that do not have the extra bubble filled, accepting them without error as an "undervote". Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation said that "hundreds of thousands of ballots" could be affected.
Observers overseas and closer to home are describing the situation as a "voting irregularity" and comparing the "double bubble" ballot to Florida's infamous "butterfly ballot" from the 2000 Presidential election which confused some Gore voters into casting their ballot for Pat Buchanan, and which may have influenced the outcome in Florida, leading to the election of George W. Bush.
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky DelGadillo asked for an investigation, urging California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Registrar Logan to "do everything within their power to see that every vote is counted. [...] Los Angeles' non-partisan voters must not be disenfranchised because of a confusing ballot design."
Rick Jacobs, chairman of the progressive organization, Courage Campaign, described the situation as "Florida in Los Angeles County," and called on Dean Logan, acting Registrar-Recorder of Los Angeles County, to do a 5% manual recount to determine the extent of the problem. He asked affected voters to contact the Courage Campaign.
Resources for affected voters:
- Contact the Courage Campaign: info (at) couragecampaign.org
- Write Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo: Rocky.Delgadillo (at) lacity.org -- or call his office: (213) 978-8100
- Contact the Election Protection Coalition at 1-866-OUR-VOTE