County continues with recall election until told to stop
El Dorado County election officials said they will continue to process absentee and mail-in ballots until they are told otherwise.
“As far as I understand, all counties are continuing on with business as usual until we receive word from the state that we are supposed to stop,” county Registrar Michele Mac Intyre said after learning Monday of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to delay the Oct. 7 election.
Preliminary estimates of the gubernatorial recall election are expected to cost El Dorado County at least $100,000, but will likely be much higher, she said.
“I know it is going to be considerably more than that,” she said. “We don’t have a firm estimate yet. We won’t know until the bills come back.”
An approximate breakdown is not available. Mac Intyre said it will cost about $41,000 to cover the wages of precinct workers and $21,000 has been rung up so far for postage of absentee and sample ballots.
Countywide there are 800 precincts, 101 polling places, and 16 consolidated precincts where voters can drop off their absentee or mail-in ballots. Absentee ballots are given to voters on a one-time or a permanent basis. Mail-in ballots are those that can be sent by mail when there are no polling places nearby. Fallen Leaf Lake is an example where residents are given mail-in ballots.
So far, the county has mailed out 20,000 absentee and mail-in ballots. There are about 90,000 registered voters in the county, all of whom received a sample ballot.
Paper, printing costs, the cost to rent polling places and labor to mail out ballots, as well as counting the mail-in ballots have not been figured into the costs, but will surpass $40,000, she said.
“We will have a full accounting of what this election costs when it’s over,” she said.
The last date to register to vote for the recall election is Sept. 22. Since the recall ballot issue was validated, about 3,000 people have signed up to vote in El Dorado County, she said.
Unlike counties like San Diego and Los Angeles, where there is a point of contention regarding the controversial punch card ballot, El Dorado County’s ballot system has passed muster with the secretary of state’s office for the special election.
While the county’s voting machines use punch cards, the cards do not have chads that could hang after being punched, which was the problem experienced in the 2000 election in Florida.
By 2006, all California counties will be required to replace the punch-card ballot with electronic voting machines.