About 1,200 Sacramento County vote-by-mail ballots arrived too late to be counted in this week’s primary election, according to elections officials. Jill LaVine, the county’s registrar of voters, shook her head as she leafed through five trays of pink envelopes and examined the postmarks. “Once again, I see June 3 on these, so they were postmarked June 3,” said LaVine. Even though many of the ballots were mailed before the polls closed Tuesday, they were not received at the registrar’s office until afterwards. Under California law, that means the ballots will never be opened, counted and included in the official results. “So much work went into this and we can’t count them. So it’s sad. It’s really sad,” said LaVine.
According to analysis prepared for the Legislature, about 20,000 ballots arrived too late to be counted in the last statewide election.
“The only thing worse than people not voting is people who try to vote and then aren’t able to,” said Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation.
Alexander said California should do as 11 other states and the District of Columbia have done, which is count ballots postmarked by election day, even if they are received a few days late.
“That would literally increase voter turn-out in California significantly,” Alexander said.