By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, October 25th, 2010 at 12:40 pm in Contra Costa County.
Contra Costa County election clerk Steve Weir discovered coding errors on ballots that impact the Dublin-San Ramon and the Central Sanitary service districts.
If you live in the affected districts, you will receive a new ballot pamphlet and if you vote by mail, you will be receiving new ballots. If you vote at the polls, corrected ballots have been prepared.
Here is Weir’s notice:
On October 12th a voter contacted the Elections Office to complain that he was in the Dublin-San Ramon Services District but that contest was not on his ballot. In addition, this voter’s ballot contained the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, a district in which he could not vote. This ballot mistake impacted 412 voters. We issued new (correct) sample ballots and vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots to those voters. Because of this mistake, we checked the boundaries between the Central Sanitary District and the Dublin-San Ramon Services District.
On Friday, October 22nd, we received a complaint from a voter that he was in the Central Sanitary District but that contest was not on his ballot. That day, and over the weekend, we conducted a complete review of the Central Sanitary District to determine if other mistakes had been made. We found that nine precincts were mis-coded involving the Central Sanitary District.
New sample ballots (and the candidate guide) are being prepared for mailing today. For those voters who vote by mail, new VBM ballots are being prepared and will be mailed most likely on Tuesday, October 26th. Instructions will be included in both mailings.
Correct ballots will be at the polls for voters who vote at the polls on Election Day. Vote-by-mail voters will be instructed to vote the new VBM ballot. Vote-by-mail voters will also be told that we will hold all unopened ballots for the impacted precincts. If VBM voters vote the second ballot, we ask that they vote the entire ballot (all contests). If/when we receive the replacement ballot, we will spoil (not open) the first ballot. If a VBM voter chooses not to return the replacement ballot, we will open and count the first ballot.
Three impacted voting precincts (Alamo, Danville and Pleasant Hill) have 2,720 voters (1,333 vote-by-mail voters and 1,387 precinct voters). Three all-mail-ballot precincts (Alamo, Danville and Martinez) have 143 voters.
In addition, we have three all-mail-ballot precincts in Martinez with 61 voters who received ballots with this contest but are not in the district. When tallying any of those votes, we will not count that contest if the voter cast a ballot in that contest. All other contests on the ballot will be counted.
This is clearly an Elections Office mistake, and I apologize to our voters. We will review our coding and double-checking procedures for future elections. This is especially important as we face reapportionment in 2011 when many Federal, State and local boundaries will be changed.
Stephen L. Weir
Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder