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.”
National: Giuliani adds fuel to discredited theories about voting machines. | Zach Montague/The New York Times
Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, continued on Saturday his effort to delegitimize votes cast through electronic voting machines, citing several conspiracies connected to the companies that make the machines and the software they run in a post on Twitter. Looking to sow doubt about the vote count in multiple swing states that were recently called for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Giuliani hinted support for a discredited theory that one of the companies that manufactures the voting machines used in some states, Smartmatic, is controlled by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros. “Look up SMARTMATIC and tweet me what you think?” Mr. Giuliani wrote. “It will all come out.” Hours later, President Trump picked up a similar refrain, stating in a tweet that the election was “stolen” by “privately owned Radical Left company, Dominion,” without providing evidence or explaining why Dominion was distinct among the many other privately owned election system vendors that routinely administer elections in the United States. Speculation that Mr. Soros has any influence over Smartmatic or its operations has been thoroughly debunked, and he does not own the company. Mr. Soros’s distant connection to the company is through his association with Smartmatic’s chairman, Mark Malloch-Brown, who is on the board of Mr. Soros’s Open Society Foundation.