When Edgardo Guerrero went to cast his vote Monday, at One Judiciary Square during the first day of early balloting, the electronic machine he was using presented him with a puzzling message. The 47-year-old Bloomingdale resident had opted for a Spanish-language ballot, and as he prepared to finalize his choices, he was informed, “¡Boleta incompleta! No ha seleccionado opción alguna en ninguna contienda.” Translation: “Ballot incomplete: You haven’t selected an option in any of the contests.” Problem was, Guerrero had made choices in most of the races on the ballot, though he did leave at least one office blank. He reviewed his ballot, tried submitting his choices again, and was given the same message. After inquiring with poll workers, he said, he submitted his ballot. But Guerrero remained wary that his vote had been properly counted, and he asked to have his electronic vote cancelled and to be given a paper ballot. Elections officials on the scene, he said, told him that would not be possible.
On Tuesday, the D.C. Board of Elections said that Guerrero’s vote was properly counted but acknowledged that the Spanish-language instructions that had confused him were indeed incorrect.
Tamara Robinson, a spokeswoman for the board, said “unfortunately there was a misinterpretation” with the Spanish-language electronic ballots. Also unfortunate, she said, is that it is too late to reprogram the city’s electronic voting machines to fix the error before the primary concludes on April 1.