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Vote 08: Non-partisan ballots questioned

February 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A record number of California voters headed to the polls, voting in what many consider the most important primary in years. But some ballots may not have been counted. "At first you say, no this can't be. Not in California, come on. Not after the 2000 elections, not after Ohio in 2004. But here we go again," said Rep. Javier Becerra, (D) Los Angeles.

The confusion falls on ballots filled out by some nonpartisan voters. Even though they're not registered Democrats, they can vote in the party's primary. But if they didn't mark the bubble selecting Democratic Party, the machine won't scan the presidential candidate bubble.

The County Registrar is hearing from voters who think they made that mistake, but it's unknown how many nonpartisan ballots lacked the double bubble.

"In the days ahead as we canvas this election we will be looking closely at those ballots and trying to determine if there is an issue where voters' votes were not recorded properly because of that crossover and to the extent that we can address that through the state election code on voter intent, we'll endeavor to do that," said Dean Logan, Acting Registrar-Recorder, Co. Clerk.

The County Registrar's office sends voters sample ballots before the primary and points out the instructions in the booth to the nonpartisan voter, explaining exactly what needs to be filled out. But some voters say they also had problems with misinformed poll workers.

"They told me to vote on a nonpartisan ticket, well there's no president on the nonpartisan ticket. So I, finally a supervisor came back that knew what was going on and I could vote a Democratic ticket," said Ken Bowlus, a Independent voter.

The instructions this year for nonpartisan voters are no different than instructions from years past. The Registrar Recorder County Clerk's office is going to be talking to attorneys to try to figure out how to handle the situation.

 

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