SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Hundreds of uncounted ballots were discovered from November’s election last week.
CBS13 learned that more than 400 vote-by-mail ballots were found three months after the election because they were misplaced and forgotten until last week.
“Some of the ballots from one of the precincts came back in a supply bag,” said Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Jill Lavine.
Uncounted votes are supposed to be in a pink carrier; however, the 407 ballots wound up in a red supply bag which was tossed onto a storage rack.
“As we were going through and cleaning up from the election, we found this bag full of ballots,” said LaVine.
The vote-by-mail ballots dropped off in Natomas came from 92 precincts. With two tight city council races, along with the Dan Lungren-Ami Berra contest too close to call for weeks, an election nightmare nearly came true.
“It won’t have any impact on the election,” said LaVine. “Staff was able to go through and sort these ballots by precinct.”
“It’s really disappointing and I’m sure if those voters found out their ballots weren’t counted, they’d be very upset,” said Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation.
Voter advocate Alexander says the options to mail your ballot or drop it off increases the chances to make mistakes.
“We give voters these conveniences, but with those conveniences come more risks and more problems,” said Alexander.
It’s a big mistake that silenced the voices of more than 400 voters who have no idea their votes were never counted.
Currently the registrar is trying to figure out measures to make sure this never happens again.
“That’s exactly what we are going through right now, is going through all of our procedures to see what went wrong and to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said LaVine.
Fortunately, it was only a small amount of votes that avoided any damage. However, had the uncounted votes been in the thousands, this could have caused some major problems.