California Voters Report Ballot Mix-Ups, Share Concerns About Election Integrity
California Voters Report Ballot Mix-Ups, Share Concerns About Election Integrity

By Travis Gillmore

Some California voters are questioning the electoral process after they received the wrong ballot leading up to the Primary Election March 5.

One such voter said he is a lifelong registered Republican, but received a no-party preference ballot in the mail.

He said he noticed there was an issue because he wanted to vote for former President Donald Trump and found no such option on his ballot.

“I got my ballot in the mail, and I was going to vote early, but when I looked to where it said president of the United States, it didn’t have anybody there,” Saul, a 48-year-old wine bottle manufacturer from Madera who only gave his first name, told The Epoch Times.

Alarmed by the error, he said he took the ballot to the Madera County Government Center on Super Tuesday and alerted election officials that he received the wrong ballot.

At first, they told him he had registered as no party preference.

“Somebody switched it,” Saul said. “I know that I did not switch it.”

But after arguing his point and demanding a new ballot, officials re-registered him as a Republican and gave him the correct ballot.

“All of this that’s going on, it’s kind of fishy,” Saul said. “I just hope my vote counts.”

Concerned for residents in rural areas without easy access to the government center, he wondered how widespread the issue was.

“And if that’s happening here, it might be happening across the whole country,” Saul said. “And if that could get mixed up so easily, what about two ballots going to the same person?”

A Madera County poll worker told The Epoch Times moments after the incident Saul’s case was not the only such error of the day.

“There have been multiple people who experienced this,” the poll worker said. “We don’t know how or why their party affiliation was changed.”

Polls workers said that any voter who brought in a ballot and told them there was a mistake was immediately re-registered and given the proper form, but it is unclear how many wrong ballots were distributed in Madera or other counties.

The county recorder’s office confirmed that several voters experienced similar issues but said such was likely due to not choosing a party when renewing drivers licenses or registering to vote.

Voters cast their ballots in Garden Grove, Calif., on March 5, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“We had a few calls about the ballots, and some people came in with a no party preference ballot that believed they were registered Republican,” Justin White, chief assistant county clerk/recorder for Madera County, told The Epoch Times March 7. “But everyone received the ballot they wanted and were able to vote.”

Additionally, every registered voter in Mendocino County—a rural region of the state about two hours north of San Francisco—received a Republican ballot, no matter how they had registered to vote, that additionally contained the wrong district information.

All voters subsequently received the correct ballot along with a bright yellow notice instructing them to destroy the prior ballot and informing them that voting twice is a crime.

One Mendocino County voter said there was confusion surrounding the two-ballot error.

“The ballots basically looked the same,” Desiree Morales, 42, told The Epoch Times. “And some people could have sent the wrong one in without realizing.”

She suggested that such mistakes are detrimental and jeopardize the integrity of elections in the Golden State.

“This is why people think our elections are a fraud,” Ms. Morales said. “Why are we getting two mail-in ballots?”

Voters prepare to cast their ballots in Irvine, Calif., on March 5, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

County officials blamed the issue on a third-party vendor that supplied ballots for the county, according to a Feb. 8 press release from Katrina Bartolomie, the assessor, recorder, and county clerk of Mendocino.

Other concerns exist about who is voting, given the lack of voter ID laws in the state. California is one of 16 states that has such a rule.

“All these illegals that are coming in, you got how many million of them?” Saul, the Madera County voter said. “Why do you not need an ID to vote?”

Arguing that IDs are needed to drive, fly, and buy certain items—including guns, alcohol, and tobacco—he said he is strongly in favor of checking photo IDs during elections.

“It’s not right,” Saul said. “I just hope for the best for our country.”

As a veteran, he said the state needs to do more to secure elections.

“I’ve been all around the world, and this is the best country in the world, but we just need to keep it like that,” Saul said. “Our kids and the future we’re leaving them, that’s what I’m worried about.”

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