Riverside County mistakenly mailed out 5,000 duplicate ballots for election, registrar says

City News Service
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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Thousands of voters in Riverside County will receive two mail-in ballots for the Nov. 8 general election - but officials say there are safeguards in place to prevent double voting.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CNS) -- Thousands of voters in Riverside County will receive two mail-in ballots for the Nov. 8 general election - but officials say there are safeguards in place to prevent double voting.

County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer says the mistake, attributed to a computer system error, was caught after 5,000 duplicate ballots had already been mailed out.

"It is important to note that none of the duplicate ballots will result in a voter being able to cast more than one ballot," Spencer said. "I take election integrity seriously and apologize for the inconvenience."

She said the duplicate ballots were distributed to absentee voters in Canyon Lake, Menifee, Murrieta, Wildomar and Winchester.

The ballots use unique barcodes and once a person votes, the system prevents additional votes from being cast in that person's name. The second ballot would be automatically voided, she said.

The county switched ballot supply vendors last year after problems were encountered during the all-mail-in-ballot election of Nov. 3, 2020, amid the coronavirus public health lockdowns.

Spencer has come under fire on several occasions from election integrity advocates, who have alleged the current ballot tabulation and collection system is vulnerable to fraud.

The county relies, in part, on Dominion Voting Systems' technology for ballot processing. Dominion came under national scrutiny following alleged irregularities during the 2020 U.S. election. The company has denied the allegations and filed defamation lawsuits to defend its reputation.

The company's machines are used in about 40 counties in California, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Earlier this year, the registrar said the system has sufficient safeguards in place to prevent it from being compromised.

In March, the Board of Supervisors approved a policy for a standing independent Election Advisory Committee, comprised of volunteers, to monitor elections and provide recommendations on what changes to make to improve operations within the registrar's office.

The upcoming election is slated to be the first that the committee will review.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the ballot duplication error, or anything else connected to casting a ballot in the Nov. 8 election, was asked to contact the Office of the Registrar of Voters at (951)486-7200.