Double Bubble Trouble and other primary voting disasters

“The Double Bubble” could become “the hanging chad” of 2008, at least in Los Angeles, where many independent voter’s ballots may be cast for a candidate other than who they intended it for.

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said he hopes that whoever counts the ballots will “take a real hard look at it and make sure the intent of the voter is counted.” (see the whole interview at Why Tuesday?) But according to Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, a poll watchdog group, the situation may be more dire.”

Even if the county agrees to a 5 percent manual recount and discovers widespread problems, Jacobs said some bubbles on the ballot are used for two different candidates, which would make it impossible for officials to determine which candidate someone voted for if they didn’t fill in the top bubble.

“Bubble 11 is for Hilary Clinton,” Jacobs said. “Bubble 13 is for Barack Obama. If someone is voting American Independent, bubble 9 is for one of their candidates, but it’s also for John Edwards. So it’s a true mess. And regrettably, people are going to be disenfranchised.” [Troy Anderson, Daily News]

After the jump, a sampling of other voting problems reported in the L.A. blogosphere:

  • At LAist, Malingering witnessed first hand some handicapped “voter suppression”, as the location was not wheelchair accessible.
  • B.la reader Ben writes in that at St. Jerome’s Parish Hall (at La Tijera and the 405) that at 10:30am the Inkadot ballot equipment had yet to show up: “we had to fill in the bubbles by hand by matching the numbers to the numbers on a sample ballot.” (this adds to other L.A. polling places that opened late or lacked equipment, among them the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and Westside Jewish Community Center).
  • Even though Metroblogging’s Jason Burns confirmed ahead that he was registered to vote at his local polling station, when he arrived they couldn’t find his name on the rolls and was required to cast a provisional ballot.
  • I was confused about my own ballot, tried taking a picture of it, was told it was “illegal” to take a pic of my own ballot, and when I asked for help in clarifying the directions the voting station director and other poll workers refused to assist me.
  • Andy Sternberg (also of LAist) writes at his own site of the “double bubble” problem, making him wonder, like me, if his vote will be counted accurately.
  • Also a possible victim of “double bubble” trouble: Read.Dance.Bliss. “Do I feel at all confident that I did things correctly and that the pollworkers did things correctly? Faaaaaaaar from it.”

How was your voting experience?

8 Replies to “Double Bubble Trouble and other primary voting disasters”

  1. I really didn’t know that I had a problem voting until later in the evening when I heard that my vote may not count. I am furious. There should be a much better system in place for those of us who do not want to be forced to vote one way or the other.
    I really hope they work this out and make the 10’s of thousands of votes count!

  2. Ugh, while I’m sure there are other valid voting issues (as there always seem to be), complaints around the whole “double bubble” thing annoy me. The ballot pretty clearly stated where one had to make your little mark if folks took a second to actually, you know, read the ballot. It wasn’t difficult.

  3. I arrived at my polling place to find my party affiliation had somehow been changed. I asked a poll worker about it, she didn’t seem concerned about it, attributed it to computer issues and just told me to re-register. The more I think about it the more I wish I’d put up a fuss about it, but that’s not really my style. It also bugs me that the poll worker was so blase about it, like it was no big deal.

    There also seemed to be a lot of people who should have been on the roll for that polling place having to complete the provisional ballots.

  4. David,

    The double bubble issue was a huge concern to me (I ran a polling place Tuesday), and we made sure to alert all non-partisan voters about the extra bubble. The alarming part was that this issue was barely covered in our training, and I really only found out about it because I heard Eric Garcetti talking about it on an internet radio show the night before the election.

    I know this issue has caused a lot of consternation over in Norwalk (county election HQ), and I’m guessing it will be changed in the future.

  5. As an independent voter I asked for a Democratic ticket. Of course, though, my name wasn’t on the voter registration list even though I had reregistered to vote months ago after I moved. Luckily I just figured that I should fill in the bubble, but no one told me or reminded me to. Hope these ballots get counted!

  6. As Vice Chairman of the American Independent Party, I will inform the readers of this above
    Double Bubble report that the American Independent Party want all votes counted.

    With this double bubble trouble, I believe its time for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to sack the employees of Los Angeles County that where involved with the election
    process and replace them with a private firm to
    conduct elections in the future. With a private
    firm working the elections, the market place will
    be a great check and balance of the election process.

    I can not see how one can figure out the voters
    intent on bubbles #’s 8 9 & 10, this was caused by tsedreyteh LA County Registrar of Voters placing two persons in the same bubble.

    I can not see how anyone would be able to figure
    out the intent of the DTS voters, since Democrat
    Presidential Candidates are using the same spot
    bubbles the the registrar of voters gave to American Independent Party Candidates for President.

    If any one has ideas on how to count the votes now, please let me know.

    Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, AIP of California (fastest growing party in California)

  7. As Vice Chairman of the American Independent Party, I will inform the readers of this above
    Double Bubble report that the American Independent Party want all votes counted.

    With this double bubble trouble, I believe its time for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to sack the employees of Los Angeles County that where involved with the election
    process and replace them with a private firm to
    conduct elections in the future. With a private
    firm working the elections, the market place will
    be a great check and balance of the election process.

    I can not see how one can figure out the voters
    intent on bubbles #’s 8 9 & 10, this was caused by tsedreyteh LA County Registrar of Voters placing two persons in the same bubble.

    I can not see how anyone would be able to figure
    out the intent of the DTS voters, since Democrat
    Presidential Candidates are using the same spot
    bubbles the the registrar of voters gave to American Independent Party Candidates for President.

    If any one has ideas on how to count the votes now, please let me know.

    Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, AIP of California (fastest growing party in California)

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