Wednesday, February 6, 2008

California election results and more on LA's "double bubble" trouble

Election results from California's primary are posted on the Secretary of State's web site. So far the site shows that over 7 million votes were cast in yesterday's election; however, this does not include late "vote-by-mail" ballots that are returned to polling places on Election Day, or provisional ballots. Like a lot of folks, I'm curious about how many ballots still remain to be counted. There is a place on the Secretary of State's web site where this data is going to be published, but there are no details available yet.

Meanwhile, many questions are being asked about Los Angeles County's ballot layout, which requires decline-to-state voters who voted in the Democratic primary to fill in two bubbles in order for their ballot to be counted -- one that indicates they are voting in the Democratic primary, and another one that indicates the candidate for whom they are voting. There is widespread concern that many LA County decline-to-state voters overlooked the first bubble and simply voted for their candidate of choice. The county's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, issued this news release stating that:

"In cooperation and consultation with the Secretary of State we will seek to determine whether or not this issue has potential impact on the outcome of the Democratic Presidential contest. If such an impact is established, we will exhaust every available option under state law to count cross over votes on nonpartisan ballots where the intent of the voter can be clearly and definitively determined."

While it appears unlikely that the double bubble problem in Los Angeles will affect the outcome of the popular vote statewide, it is possible that it could impact the outcome of Democatic party delegate votes, many of which are allocated by congressional district. There are 18 congressional districts that are wholly or partially included in Los Angeles County, and the margin of difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in some of these districts is far narrower than the number of LA county decline-to-state voters registered in the district. **

On this post-election day, we are also responding to emails from several decline-to-state voters from around the state who were not allowed to vote a partisan ballot at their polling places yesterday. It's unclear how widespread this problem is, but it is unfortunate that any voter would be disenfranchised, and such problems could be avoided if pollworkers were instructed by state law to inform decline-to-state voters of their rights to vote in partisan primaries.

** A clarification: Since the Democratic Party's delegate votes are awarded proportionally, neither Obama or Clinton "win" congressional districts. However, a large undervote for either candidate could reduce the total number of delegate votes awarded to that candidate.

No comments:

Post a Comment