Santa Clara County election officials sent more than 7,500 mail ballots to the wrong addresses during last June’s election, unwittingly canceling votes cast by some South Bay residents even as those living out of state received ballots.
A report released Friday from the county’s civil grand jury concludes the Registrar of Voters does not follow the proper procedures to avoid errors when mailing out ballots to people who have recently moved.
The findings stem from the grand jury’s investigation into the June 2010 primary election, when about 550,000 of Santa Clara County’s 825,000 voters received their ballots through mail.
The vendor the county election’s office hired to mail the ballots erroneously forwarded 7,668 ballots to former South Bay residents who had recently moved, the grand jury found in its investigation.
Of those, the vendor mailed 2,030 ballots to people who moved outside the county — some even outside the state — and were thus ineligible to vote in the local election. The vendor caught the error in time, however, and the county told the grand jury it voided those ballots.
An additional 3,124 ballots were incorrectly sent to voters who had moved to a new ZIP code within the county, which changed the local contests they could vote in, such as school board races and city tax measures. The county had to void all those ballots and resend new, correct ones.
The grand jury found, however, that the election office didn’t clearly inform those voters that their first ballot was voided and that they needed to mail back a second one. Some of those voters most likely never sent their second ballot, the grand jury concluded.