With just over a week left before election day, the Long Beach city clerk has discovered ballot irregularities that could affect more than half of the city’s voting precincts in one of the most closely watched local elections in years. Ballot tabulators failed to count votes marked on the second page of some ballots, said City Clerk Larry Herrera. The mistake affects precincts that have two-page ballots — about 169 of the city’s 295 polling places. Herrera said his office discovered the problem Friday afternoon while running a routine “logic and accuracy” test on the ballots ahead of next Tuesday’s election. The city has not printed two-page ballots since 2007, according to Herrera, and since then some of the tabulation processes have changed but were not readjusted for the two-page ballots. The primary election, scheduled for April 8, is expected to narrow large fields of candidates vying for wide-open races for mayor and five of the nine City Council seats.
Herrera says the anomaly in no way affects the mayoral or council races, which appear on the first page of the affected ballots, but possibly affects some local school district races and a measure to tax medical marijuana sales. (The measure would take affect only if current efforts to pass new marijuana regulations are successful.)
Previously, the city clerk’s office announced that the authors of ballot arguments for and against the medical marijuana measure had been inadvertently left off English-language ballots.
In a statement, Herrera called the ballot issues “unfortunate” and said he has worked with the city’s longtime printer, K&H Integrated Print Solutions, to solve them. He added that the printer will pay for all expenses related to the ballot reprinting.