Glitches confound election process in Meyers
Perhaps as many as 200 Meyers-area voters faced problems at the polls Tuesday after recent post office box changes showed some of the residents as having “non-existent” voter registrations.
El Dorado County election officials say the glitch was first discovered about three weeks ago when at least a couple of hundred sample ballots were returned to the El Dorado County Registrar’s Office.
“I felt like I was in Florida,” said Daniel Sullivan, an 11-year South Shore resident, who ran into problems at the ballot box.
Voters were flagged by election officials after they turned in their paperwork before casting ballots.
Some election forms showed the post office boxes had been changed and that the registrar’s office had not been notified of the changes. Election officials said that no one was turned away because of the snafu.
South Lake Tahoe Postmaster Michael Benson said post office box numbers changed when the Meyers postal facility replaced the old post office last year in Tahoe Paradise.
When the change was made, neither postal officials nor election officials were able to track where the sample ballots were going, said Michele Mac Intyre, El Dorado County registrar.
“We had an awful lot of people who had changes to their post office boxes and this is what caused some of the confusion,” Mac Intyre said. “I think people have had an oversensitivity to voting ever since Florida, but we made sure that everyone who was registered was allowed to vote.”
Post office officials tried to redirect some of the sample ballots, but there there were too many to keep track of. Many were sent back to the registrar’s office, Benson said.
Sullivan said he arrived at his voting precinct at Calvary Chapel Church of South Lake Tahoe about noon when an election official told him his forms didn’t match and that he was deemed “non-existent.”
“I haven’t moved and haven’t switched parties so I was wondering what was going on,” Sullivan said. “I couldn’t believe it. The first thing I thought was Florida.”
A neighbor, who was also voting at the time, verified Sullivan’s residence for election officials. Mac Intyre said polling officials were made aware of the glitch and told to tell voters facing the problems to call the registrar’s office if they had any questions about their ballots.
In the meantime, Mac Intyre and Benson said they will coordinate their efforts in the future to make sure that if post office box changes are made, the voters are informed that they must contact the registrar’s office.
Sullivan said polling officials were polite, but hopes the problem is fixed soon.
“They went ahead and let me put my ballot in, but the whole thing was strange,” he said. “I pay quite a bit of money in property taxes, so I’d like to see the system work properly.”
Jeff Munson can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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