NBC 7 Investigates partnered with ProPublica’s Electionland to investigate voter-related issues on Election Day in San Diego County.
Here are some of the issues that we looked into:
Carmel Valley Voters Off Rosters
At the Pacific Trails Middle School polling location in Carmel Valley, 46 people showed up to vote but learned their names were not on the polling site’s roster.
Michael Vu with San Diego County’s Registrar of Voters labeled it as an “isolated incident” and said the 46 voters were initially offered the opportunity to vote on a provisional ballot.
After the issue was identified, Vu said a poll worker validated each person’s name with Registrar of Voters’ staff over the phone and all 46 individuals were able to vote by a standard ballot.
Campaigning Close to Polling Locations in National City
San Diego County Registrar of Voters staff investigated allegations of campaigns “electioneering” or handing out flyers too close to two polling locations in National City.
On Tuesday morning, National City Mayor Ron Morrison contacted NBC 7 Investigates after posting on Facebook photos and videos of what he said were staff from local campaigns talking to voters less than 100-feet from the polling location entrances at Ira Harbison and El Toyen Elementary Schools.
“This is in many cases illegal and at the very least inappropriate,” Morrison said in his Facebook post.
According to the California Secretary of State office, it is illegal to “electioneer” or hand out items with a candidate’s name on them less than 100 feet from where people are voting.
Vu confirmed his staff addressed the allegations immediately but nothing illegal occurred.
“In the El Toyon situation, the folks were 100ft from the polling place so no issue there,” Vu said by email. “In the Harbison location, our poll workers properly instructed the group that showed up this morning that they could not be near the poll site.”
UCSD Precincts Running Out Of Ballots
UCSD students told NBC 7 and ProPublica that some precincts on-campus ran out of ballots by Tuesday afternoon.
“Poll monitors report UCSD ran out of ballots tonight -- with people still in line,” a Twitter post from the nonprofit California Common Cause read. “Please encourage voters to #StayInLine.”
Michael Workman, a spokesperson for San Diego County, said two out of the eight precincts on the UCSD campus were “low or out of English ballots” around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday. Workman said the ballot count ran low only in the evening hours and all eight precincts had a sufficient amount of ballots earlier in the day.
“No one would be turned away,” Workman said by email, adding that voters had other options of voting besides using ballots, including using touchscreen technology.
Voters Claim Preference Changed to Mail-In Ballot Without Their Consent
Throughout Election Day, NBC 7 Investigates and ProPublica heard from voters in San Diego County, as well as across the state, who said they arrived at their polling location only to find out they were labeled in the state’s system as voting by mail-in ballot.
The voters said they did not choose to vote by mail-in ballot and in some cases, did not receive their ballot in the mail. In the end, those voters said poll workers encouraged them to vote by a provisional ballot.
Vu said voters finding out at the polls that they were entered into the state's system as voting by mail is not uncommon.
“There may be more occurrences or there may not, there is no way of gauging until after the election,” Vu said by email.
A spokesperson for California's Department of Motor Vehicles said their office received only one complaint statewide from a voter who claimed they had not chosen to vote by mail-in ballot. After some research, the spokesperson said it turned out the voter was mistaken and had actually chosen to vote by mail previously.
Sam Mahood, Press Secretary for California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla, said the state’s voter hotline did not have an uptick of complaints about the issue.
“It is important to remind voters that if there is any issue—their name is not on the polling place roster, they lost their vote-by-mail ballot—they have the right to request and cast a provisional ballot,” Mahood said by email. “Every provisional ballot is carefully checked by county elections officials and will be counted once the voter’s registration is verified and it is confirmed that they did not vote elsewhere.”
More than 1.7-million voters were registered to vote in San Diego County. Vu said his office expected 64 to 68-percent of those registered to actually vote in this year’s midterm election.
If you noticed problems while voting during the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 6, please share below so we can help investigate them.