20,000 ballots cannot be counted in the election for Riverside District Attorney

Riverside DA vote news from the County of Riverside:

Ballots from Tuesday’s primary election will be counted around the clock, an effort that should complete the tally of uncounted vote-by-mail ballots on Friday (June 11). The Riverside County Registrar of Voters will update the count on its website tonight (Thursday) at 6:00 p.m., at 6:00 a.m. on Friday and again when the count is completed.

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Because the volume of vote-by-mail ballots was so heavy for Tuesday’s election, 106,000 outstanding ballots remained to be tallied on Wednesday. Nearly 30,000 vote-by-mail ballots were dropped off at polling places on Tuesday and 40,000 others were received by mail in the last two days before the election.

Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore said more than 12,000 provisional, damaged or mismarked ballots also must be counted but special handling of those ballots will require more time than the vote-by-mail ballots.

“We understand that everyone wants to see tallies completed accurately and as fast as possible,” Dunmore said. “We’re taking every step possible to make that happen.”

About 20,000 ballots cannot be counted because they were received after the 8 p.m. deadline for the Registrar’s office to accept ballots on Election Day. The late-arriving ballots were collected at the Chicago Avenue post office in Riverside
Wednesday morning during a regularly scheduled pickup by the registrar’s staff. The U.S. postal service told the registrar’s staff that the ballots had arrived at the post office about 3:00 a.m. Wednesday.

By law, ballots not in the possession of the registrar by the time polls close at 8:00 p.m. on election day cannot be counted.

Dunmore is arranging to meet with postal officials to ensure that ballots reach the registrar’s office as quickly as possible
in future elections.

“We go to extra lengths to ensure we collect as many vote-by-mail ballots as possible. It is extremely unfortunate but we received these ballots after the deadline established in the law,” Dunmore said.

Those steps include trips to post offices on election day to collect ballots.

“We make those trips to help ensure that as many vote-by-mail ballots are collected in time to be counted in the election,” Dunmore said.

The registrar’s staff went to the Chicago Avenue post office on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.  At 8:00 p.m. on election night, registrar employees also went to the postal service’s main distribution center on Redlands Avenue in San Bernardino and were given 1,000 ballots from the mail stream. The registrar’s staff waits as long as possible to make that special trip on election night because mail goes to the Redlands Avenue post office first before being sent to local postal hubs.

riversidevotinghp22.jpg For more than a year, however, the postal service has shipped mail to a distribution facility in Moreno Valley before the mail is sent to other post offices. Since then, there has been no noticeable change in late-arriving ballots on election day,
Dunmore said.

The registrar’s office sends ballots to vote-by-mail voters beginning 29 days before Election Day.  Typically, returns surge after the initial mailing, once voters make their selections and mail back their ballots.  Ballots trickled in over the weeks
leading up to the election but there was no immediate surge, Dunmore said.  Vote-by-mail ballots include instructions and information about the deadline for their return and also note that ballots can be dropped off at any polling place.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

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