A coalition of civil rights and voting advocacy groups lashed out Friday at Alameda County election officials after poll workers wrongly told more than 150 voters that their paper ballot was only a receipt and that it could be taken home, leading to the votes not being counted. The mistake, the groups allege, affected voters who visited one or more locations in Oakland to cast ballots in person between Oct. 31 and election day. “We spoke to some of the poll workers there who were really alarmed,” said Angelica Salceda, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. The voting rights advocates said that some voters who showed up at a polling place on the campus of Mills College during the four-day period were told the ballot marking device they had used was keeping a digital record of their selections on federal, state and local races. In reality, the device only makes marks on a paper ballot, which the voter then must submit to an election official. Instead, poll workers “incorrectly told voters … that the printouts from the machines were ‘receipts’ that the voters should take with them, rather than official ballots that they should deposit in the ballot box,” representatives of 15 civil rights and voting rights groups wrote in a letter Thursday to Tim Dupuis, the Alameda County registrar of voters. “In general, voters who cast their ballots at Mills College were disproportionately Black, and many of the voters who had been actively encouraged by poll workers to use the [ballot marking devices] were disabled or elderly.”
Fifty-nine of the country’s top computer scientists and election security experts rebuked President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and hacking on Monday, writing that such assertions are “unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.” The rebuttal, in a letter to be published on various websites, did not mention Mr. Trump by name but amounted to another forceful corrective to the torrents of disinformation that he has posted on Twitter. “Anyone asserting that a U.S. election was ‘rigged’ is making an extraordinary claim, one that must be supported by persuasive and verifiable evidence,” the scientists wrote. In the absence of evidence, they added, it is “simply speculation.” “To our collective knowledge, no credible evidence has been put forth that supports a conclusion that the 2020 election outcome in any state has been altered through technical compromise,” they wrote. The letter followed a similarly strong rebuttal of the president’s claims last week by the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, which includes top officials from the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and secretaries of state and state election directors from around the country. In a joint statement on Thursday, that group declared that the 2020 election “was the most secure in American history” and that “there is no evidence” any voting systems had been compromised. Some of those officials expect to be fired in the coming weeks for their refusal to echo the president’s claims.