Nearly a month after the June 7 primary, California still is tallying ballots, a task that regularly dumbfounds the uninitiated with its snail-like immunity to speed. “Yes, They’re Still Counting the Presidential Primary Votes,” The New York Times carped last week, wondering how the cradle of high tech could have such inefficient elections. A week before, The Washington Post quoted Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters speculating that Sanders actually had won the Democratic primary but no one knew because of the slow vote count. In fact, California election results are the way they are because this state bends over backwards not to disenfranchise voters. This year, some in the Sanders camp actually worsened matters by switching parties at the last minute and casting provisional ballots, which have to be individually verified.Full Article: Toward a more perfect vote count in future California campaigns | The Sacramento Bee.
We like to think of California as the center of the tech universe. But, apparently, all that know-how has not helped us figure out how to run more efficient elections. Three weeks after the state’s Democratic presidential primary, half a million votes remain uncounted. The final tallies, whenever they come in, are not expected to change the result. Hillary Clinton declared victory the night of the June 7 primary, when she was up by more than 10 points. In videos, in blog posts and on social media, some supporters of Bernie Sanders are pointing to the uncounted ballots as evidence that Mr. Sanders was robbed. Long waits for final totals are not rare in California. Most of the 2.5 million votes that were not counted by June 7 were mail-in ballots that were not returned until Election Day, or even a few days after.Full Article: California Today: Yes, They’re Still Counting the Presidential Primary Votes - The New York Times.
Voting rights advocates Wednesday said the March presidential preference election amounted to voter suppression and proposed renewing federal election standards to protect voters. Community leaders representing numerous advocacy groups, along with Democratic Congressional representatives, said at a forum at the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church in south Phoenix that the long wait times at Maricopa County election sites prevented many people from voting. “Let’s just make clear what happened. There was voter suppression,” Congressman Ruben Gallego said. Maricopa County had only 60 polling places, including one serving all of south Phoenix for the March 22 election, said Gallego, a Democrat who represents the area.Full Article: Voting rights advocates condemn March voting process.
It was billed as a “Still Sanders” rally, a way to shame CNN and the rest of the media for covering up the success of Bernie Sanders’s campaign for president. It took over a street in Hollywood area of Los Angeles yesterday — coincidentally, a day that Sanders was appearing on CNN to discuss his future plans. And to the faithful, it shared new information about how Sanders, counted out in California, was gaining ground. “It is absolutely true that San Francisco has flipped for Bernie,” said organizer and emcee Cary Harrison. This was not true. The consolidated city-county of San Francisco gave a victory to Hillary Clinton, of 116,359 votes to 99,594 for Sanders. As of June 24, there were no mail-in or provisional ballots left to count. Yet for a small group of Sanders diehards, California’s ridiculously slow count of mail-in and provisional ballots is a source of hope, and evidence of media’s failure. Since election day, three of the 58 California counties that at first seemed to vote for Clinton flipped to Sanders. A 12-point Clinton victory margin has shrunk to nine points. The relative lack of coverage here fuels events like the Still Sanders march, a look at a world in which the Vermont senator remains in the hunt for the presidency.Full Article: ‘Still Sanders’ activists cling to hope of ‘flipping’ California - The Washington Post.
Ohio voter Keith Dehmann failed to list his birthdate when casting his absentee ballot in the 2014 general election and later tried to remedy the mistake. That same year, Linda and Gunther Lahm mixed up the envelopes for their absentee ballots and then overlooked birthdate errors when fixing the problem. All three eligible voters in the key swing state had their ballots tossed under laws one federal judge has ruled unconstitutional, and another found otherwise. The conflicting decisions for absentee and provisional ballots have put the state’s rules — and its voters — in legal limbo ahead of the presidential election as the issue is appealed.Full Article: Conflicting court rulings put Ohio's voting rules in limbo.
California: Stanislaus County supervisor expects CEO’s office will look into ballot blunder | The Modesto Bee
Ron Hurst of Modesto was as confused as other voters who participated in the June 7 primary election. Arriving at his polling place, Hurst was told by an election worker that he was an inactive voter and had to vote with a provisional ballot, which would not be counted with the election day returns. An inactive voter? Hurst, 29, said he has voted in every election since turning 18, and certainly voted for himself when he ran for a Modesto City Council seat last November. “I am disturbed by how much was wrong with this year’s election,” Hurst said. “I know some people who were registered as Democrats and were sent the Republican primary forms.” Plenty of voters from across California were confused by the primary election. The nonpartisan Election Protection voter hotline, a nationwide service, received more than 1,300 calls from voters June 7, with the complaints ranging from polls that opened late to failed voting equipment, issues with mail ballots and election workers providing inaccurate information. More than half the complaints were from California.Full Article: Stanislaus County supervisor expects CEO’s office will look into ballot blunder | The Modesto Bee.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is planning to use provisional ballots during the upcoming elections and then throw out all of the votes for state and local races cast by the thousands of voters who register to vote at motor vehicle offices without providing proof of citizenship. An email sent from Kobach’s office to county election officials outlines the state’s proposed plans for implementing a two-tiered election system in the wake of a federal court order requiring Kansas to allow these voters to cast ballots at least in the federal races. The email sent by Election Director Bryan Caskey tells local election officials that the secretary of state has not approved a shorter “federal only” ballot. Instead, Kobach wants to institute a “partial provisional” process that allows election officials to go back into those provisional ballots and throw out any votes cast in state and local races and count only votes cast for president and U.S. Senate and House.Full Article: Kansas to Use Provisional Ballots for Upcoming Elections - ABC News.
More than 7 million ballots have been counted across the state from last week’s primary election. But in California, counting votes takes a long time: as of Thursday, the Secretary of State’s office reported there are still about 1.4 million ballots remaining to be counted. In Los Angeles County, the latest numbers from the registrar’s office shows about 350,000 ballots still need to be counted. About 1.7 million ballots were cast and counted so far. The Secretary of State has about a month to process all ballots statewide. Counties have to submit their results to the state by July 8, and the state has until July 15 to certify the statewide results. As for how many people voted, the numbers will go up as more votes are counted, but right now statewide voter turnout is tracking at about 41 percent.Full Article: California ballots still to be counted: 1.4 million | 89.3 KPCC.
California: One week later, almost 2 million California primary ballots still must be reviewed | Los Angeles Times
Elections officials across California continue to work through a stack of unprocessed ballots, now totaling more than 1.9 million potential votes in last week’s local and statewide races. About 60% of the unprocessed ballots are in just a half dozen counties. By law, local officials have another three weeks to count votes, a process slowed down in part by the large number of ballots cast by mail. This is also the first year for a new state law allowing any ballot received 72 hours after election day to be counted, as long as it was postmarked in time.Full Article: One week later, almost 2 million California primary ballots still must be reviewed - LA Times.
Baltimore’s troubled primary election could be blamed on delayed training materials for Maryland’s new paper ballot system and repeated revisions to a training manual for election judges. But it doesn’t explain why major voting irregularities took place in only one of Maryland’s 24 voting jurisdictions, while the rest of the state experienced nominal problems. Baltimore City’s own elections director, who denies fraud or wrongdoing in the April 26 election, suggests that hundreds of election judges not showing up as scheduled, trouble recruiting quality judges and a lack of uniformity in general knowledge of procedures could be at issue. But plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit believe repeated negligence by top officials led to the problems. Meanwhile, the governor’s office raised red flags about preparedness well before the election but were reassured that all was well. Over 1,700 provisional ballots were improperly handled, and the lawsuit has been filed in federal court alleging voter fraud and gross negligence.Full Article: Baltimore’s primary election foul-ups did not happen elsewhere in Md. | MarylandReporter.com.
California: ‘It was just chaos’: Broken machines, incomplete voter rolls leave some wondering whether their ballots will count | Los Angeles Times
California voters faced a tough time at the polls Tuesday, with many voters saying they have encountered broken machines, polling sites that opened late and incomplete voter rolls, particularly in Los Angeles County. The result? Instead of a quick in-and-out vote, many California voters were handed the dreaded pink provisional ballot — which takes longer to fill out, longer for election officials to verify and which tends to leave voters wondering whether their votes will be counted. This year’s presidential primary race has already been one of the most bitter in recent memory. Before Tuesday’s vote, Bernie Sanders supporters accused the media of depressing Democratic turnout by calling the nomination for Hillary Clinton before polls opened in California. Those feelings haven’t gotten any less raw Tuesday as hundreds of Californians complained of voting problems to the national nonpartisan voter hotline run by the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law. It’s difficult to get a sense for how widespread the problems are or how they compare to recent elections. But experts said the culprit for Tuesday’s voting problems seems to be a confluence of factors — old voting machines, a competitive election that has drawn new voters, plus complex state voting laws that can be hard for poll volunteers and voters to follow.
Ohio: Federal judge finds Ohio laws on absentee and provisional ballots violate U.S. Constitution | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A federal judge on Tuesday threw out provisions in Ohio’s law that had voided absentee and provisional ballots for technical flaws made by otherwise qualified voters. In a lawsuit filed by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless and the Ohio Democratic Party, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley ruled that the laws violated provisions of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that require citizens receive equal protection under the law. Marbley also ruled that the state’s attempt to shorten a period from 10 to 7 days during which voters could fix those technical flaws was also unconstitutional, as was a provision that forbid poll workers from helping to fill out the ballot forms unless the voter declared he or she was either illiterate or disabled. Witnesses in a voting rights case in federal court said this week that in 2014 some legitimate ballots were rejected, while in other cases flaw ballots were counted. The case involves a lawsuit by advocates for the homeless and Ohio Democrats who are challenging the constitutionality of some Ohio election laws.Full Article: Federal judge finds Ohio laws on absentee and provisional ballots violate U.S. Constitution | cleveland.com.
With the vocal support of GOP legislative leaders Wednesday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted appealed the latest of two voting rights rulings against the state, blaming them for creating “ chaos and voter confusion.” “Unfortunately, in the time span of just two weeks, the integrity of our elections has been jeopardized as two federal judges have issued decisions that directly conflict with each other and put our elections process in limbo with no clear path forward absent a clear ruling from the appellate court,” Husted said. Democrats who won both court cases say if the Republicans want someone to blame for “chaos” in Ohio’s voting laws, they should look in the mirror. “Their handiwork continues to violate the Constitution — that’s where the chaos and confusion comes from,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “They’re just playing games at this point.”Full Article: Husted appeals 2nd ruling tossing Ohio voting laws | The Columbus Dispatch.
In light of finding Durham County elections workers had counted dozens more votes than had actually been cast, the State Board of Elections has decided to scratch 892 provisional ballots and mail out new ballots to those voters more than two months later. In a meeting to finalize the results of the March 15 primary, the board voted unanimously to approve only 147 provisional ballots that could be checked for eligibility and moved to send out new ballots to voters whose ballots could not be verified. The decision came out of a state investigation into discrepancies in the Durham County election primaries that found the state only had physical copies for 980 provisional ballots, despite having approved or partially approved 1,039 provisional ballots to count toward final election totals.Full Article: Some Durham County voters will receive new primary ballot | News & Observer.
Maryland: Analysis: Improperly scanned ballots too few to affect outcomes of Baltimore City Council primary races | Baltimore Sun
Were the irregularities in Baltimore’s primary election numerous enough to affect the outcome of City Council races? It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds. The State Board of Elections reported last week there were 1,188 provisional ballots improperly scanned into the results of Baltimore’s primary election in April — without verification that the voters were registered. That’s too few votes to affect the outcome of the Democratic primary for mayor, where state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh defeated former Mayor Sheila Dixon by more than 2,400 votes. But was it enough to affect a council race, where only hundreds of votes separate competitors? An analysis of election data by The Baltimore Sun shows that — much like the mayor’s race — the potentially invalid votes were too few to affect the outcomes of even down-ballot contests.Full Article: Analysis: Improperly scanned ballots too few to affect outcomes of Baltimore City Council primary races - Baltimore Sun.
The State Board of Elections continues to update its investigation into voter irregularities and fraud in the Baltimore City primary election. All the concerns forced the board to refuse to accept the results of the election. Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what they found, and what’s next. The “who” and the “how” are becoming pretty clear. “The pattern that we saw clearly was that the provisional ballots were scanned in the polling place instead of being held with the applications,” said Linda Lamone, state elections administrator. In some cases, every single provisional ballot that should have been set aside was scanned.Full Article: Board On Baltimore’s Election: ‘We Don’t Know What Happened’ « CBS Baltimore.
Maryland: 800 improperly counted votes in Baltimore cannot be removed from results | The Washington Post
Maryland elections officials have uncovered nearly 800 improperly counted ballots from Baltimore residents who may not have been eligible to vote, calling into question how poll workers were trained for a new voting system in the April 26 primary. The discovery of hundreds more ballots cast than voters who checked into Baltimore polling sites led to the decertification of that city’s election results. On Thursday, the State Board of Elections discussed the ongoing investigation into the irregularities and how things went wrong. Election judges had apparently scanned ballots cast by people who did not appear on voter rolls, Elections Administrator Linda Lamone told the five-member board. Those ballots were not supposed to be counted until officials verified that the voter was authorized to vote. “This was a training issue introducing a brand-new voting system in Maryland,” Lamone said. “There is no evidence of voter fraud.” Some discrepancies in voters and votes in Baltimore could not be explained, she said. “The numbers simply don’t match,” Lamone said.Full Article: 800 improperly counted votes in Baltimore cannot be removed from results - The Washington Post.
About 1,000 more votes were cast during Baltimore’s primary election than there were voters who checked in at the polls, an ongoing state review has found. State elections officials said Thursday that workers examining Baltimore’s election have uncovered “significant” problems. They have found more than 450 provisional ballots that were not considered by election judges. And nearly 800 provisional ballots — given to voters whose eligibility is in question — were improperly counted before eligibility was verified, officials said. Most of the problems were caused by untrained judges scanning ballots into the system that they shouldn’t have, said Linda H. Lamone, Maryland’s elections administrator. The state might not get to the bottom of every problem, she told the State Board of Elections. “There will be precincts that cannot be explained,” Lamone said. “We don’t know what happened. The numbers simply don’t match.”Full Article: State review finds 'significant' irregularities in Baltimore election - Baltimore Sun.
New York: Elections Board Certifies Primary Vote, Rejects 91,000 Provisional Ballots | The Indypendent
After presiding over a chaotic Democratic presidential primary on April 19, the New York City Board of Elections released its certified election results Friday afternoon showing that it has rejected 91,000 provisional affidavit ballots, or about three out of every four cast that day. Diana Finch, who has served as a poll worker for nearly a decade, said the number of affidavit ballots in her Bronx election district far exceeded the usual number. “The envelopes that are provided to each election district to put the affidavit ballots in were all filled to bursting at my poll site, we had to squeeze the affidavit ballots in,” Finch told The Indypendent. “Clearly the Board of Elections never anticipated having so many affidavits.”Full Article: Elections Board Certifies Primary Vote, Rejects 91,000 Provisional Ballots | The Indypendent.
Franklin County tossed out about a dozen voters’ ballots that should have been counted, elections board Director William Anthony testified in a federal trial in Columbus that could change how Ohio conducts its elections. Anthony’s concession that valid 2014 votes were not tabulated is merely the tip of the iceberg of problems plaguing Ohio’s vote-counting procedures since the GOP-dominated legislature passed and Gov. John Kasich signed a pair of laws that year dealing with absentee and provisional ballots, the groups pressing the federal lawsuit contend. During an extended period on the witness stand this week, Anthony, who also is chairman of the county Democratic Party, was shown ballot after ballot that he acknowledged should have at least been further examined by county elections officials before being cast aside.Full Article: Franklin County official: Some 2014 ballots wrongly rejected | The Columbus Dispatch.