Some Voters a Bit Confused by Recall Primary Rules

A number of people were misled into thinking they could vote in both party primaries and had their ballots rejected, deputy clerk says – but that's OK, you get two more chances.

More than a few voters Tuesday in Tosa found themselves holding a second ballot after erring on their first attempt to vote, a deputy city clerk said.

The problem had to do with different rules for the recall primary than apply for most primary elections – and with some bad information floating around.

Typically, one must pick a party, but in this case a citizen could vote in either party. Still, you only get to vote once per race.

"Some people heard on the news that you could vote for anybody," said Susan Van Hoven of the City Clerk's Office. "They took that to mean they could vote in each party race.

"Poll workers were trying to tell them, 'No, you can vote only once for the governor's office.'"

But with conflicting ideas going in, and the added confusion of several unfamiliar names on the ballot, some of them "fake" candidates put up by the opposing party, and even advice from policital talkers to vote for candidates you wanted to see lose – some people just didn't get the message straight.

"I witnessed this a couple times," Van Hoven said. "Voters put their ballots in the machine and it spit it back out. Then the poll worker at the machine would have to explain, see, 'You voted twice for the same office, you have to get a new ballot.'

"You get three chances."

Van Hoven said there were few other problems at the polls in Tosa, and she had visited them all during the day.

"There were a few people at the wrong polling place, not very many," she said. "There are some people who only vote at certain times, people who only vote every four years, for instance, who hadn't gotten the message.

"We sent out postcards, but maybe they didn't see them."

Van Hoven said voter turnout looked good and had been steady early in the day.

"Some of the polling places that have two wards had had 300 to 400 people voting by 10:30," she said. "The poll workers were thinking that would work out to about 30 percent for the day."


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