Nearly 2% of California voters had their mail-in ballots rejected in the June primary, which is sad, but Alameda County’s lowest rejection level statewide has anti-tax groups up in arms demanding the county reject more people’s votes.
It’s discouraging to see the California Secretary of State’s county-by-county breakdown of rejected mail-in ballots from our latest election, the June 7 primary, which shows that 105,818 California voters (1.6%) had their vote-by-mail ballots rejected. These rejections are largely for ticky-tack reasons: they didn’t have an envelope signature, the signature did not match the one on file, or they arrived postmarked late. Certainly a 1.6% gap can swing certain elections, so pay attention to this things, people!
For our part, San Francisco County rejected 3,134 mail-in ballots out of about half a million ballots cast, for well under a 1% rejection rate. Sad, but I can live with that. Because compare that to a Bay Area News Group assessment of some other counties: “Merced tops the list of 58 counties for mail-in ballot rejections with 3.2% of votes discarded, amounting to 957 ballots. Yuba, San Benito and Tulare all had rates at or above 2.7%. Meanwhile, San Bernardino County in Southern California rejected 3.0% of mail-in ballots.”
That assessment comes in a report about Alameda County’s exceptionally low mail-in ballot rejection rate. That report notes that Alameda County “had the lowest rejection rate in California — amounting to just 0.3% of mail-in ballots going uncounted. Startlingly, Alameda reported only 23 ballots rejected for arriving late. By comparison, Contra Costa, which has a smaller population, rejected 3,388 ballots.”
Some might commend Alameda County for counting as many votes as possible. Others do not.
Alameda County Taxpayers Association attorney Jason Bezis fumed to the News Group that that low rejection was “completely unbelievable,” and added that “If Alameda County’s health care system reported deaths from ‘cardiac arrest’ at one percent of the expected statewide rate, there would be cries of disbelief and immediate demands for reform.”
We don’t have an official explanation for the discrepancy, as the Alameda County election chief did not respond to the News Groups’ request for comment. The nonpartisan California Voter Foundation’s president Kim Alexander sai it may be an innocent typo, adding “It’s entirely possible that somebody left a digit out or two,” and “These numbers are as reliable as the counties reporting the data.”
That said, folks, make sure you drop your mail-in ballot in time to get a November 8 postmark so it counts. You can also check the status of your mail-in ballot online to ensure your vote has been counted.
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist