Californians Go To The Polls June 5

San Mateo County Ballots Delayed By Printing Mistake

Margie Shafer
October 18, 2018 - 2:10 pm

Residents of San Mateo County will receive their mail-in ballots for the November 6 election later than usual, because of a printing glitch.

Ballots were expected to begin arriving in mailboxes on October 9, but county officials found that they'd omitted the race for Board of Education from the forms sent to many voters. 

Rather than reprint the entire ballot, a separate card was inserted for the at-large Board of Education seat with the candidates' statements. 

No one knows how the correction will affect turnout, but the candidates are disappointed. 

“They’re a little upset, if you want to call it that way,” said Assistant Chief Elections Officer Jim Irizarry about the officer seekers. 

Incumbent Susan Alvaro is defending her seat against challenger Brandon Kwan. Both candidates are required to live in a specific district of the county, but the race is “at-large,” meaning all county residents can cast their vote in the race. 

Voters who live in that specific district were sent complete ballots, but the race was left out for other voters around the county.

Irizarry said the ballots were pulled back when the omission was noticed.

The corrected ballots were mailed on Monday, October 15, which is still in time to meet the delivery requirements of the state elections code. Those rules say that ballots must be sent between October 8 and October 30. Four ballot centers are also open in the county.

The Palo Alto Daily Post reported that the county is sending 123 different variations of the mail-in ballot this year, due to an increase in district elections and a state requirement to switch elections to even-numbered years.

Elections in the city of Santa Clara have been thrown into confusion by a court ruling overturning its at-large elections, which activists said diluted the voting power of minority communities.