Cintra Costa County Registrar of Voters Steve Weir has relieved an unnamed polling place inspector of her duties in Discovery Bay today for “creating a false impression about how voting will take place.”
Weir said she provided false information to the California Republican Party and Assemblyman Guy Houston’s office about the number of ballots she was provided in the precinct where she was assigned in Discovery Bay.
Weir said the worker told the GOP that she was given too few ballots to handle the voters in her precinct. That is incorrect, he said.
The precinct has 931 registered voters, of which 455 are permanent vote-by-mail voters who have already received ballots, Weir said.
The county delivered 500 official ballot to this precinct, Weir said, which accommodates 100 percent of the precinct’s registered voters who do not vote by mail plus a few extras to cover people who have spoiled their mail-in ballot and wish to obtain a new one.
Under this scenario, it seems unlikely that a precinct could run out of ballots. But in high turnout elections, unregistered voters often turn up at the polling place. Pollworkers will not deny anyone the right to vote; those individuals cast what are called “provisional” ballots, which means they are counted only if the voter turns out to be registered but is not on the official rolls for one reason or another.
Under the county’s emergency plan, if a precinct runs out of ballots, voters fill out a sample ballot. (This Discovery Bay precinct has 50 sample ballots on hand for this purpose.)
The sample ballot results are transferred by hand to an official ballot at the election office and scanned into the tally. It sounds scary but the Secretary of State’s office has approve it as part of the county’s emergency plan, Weir said.
The county also has extra official ballots on hand that could be delivered to any precinct that runs out and it could print more official ballots if necessary, Weir said.