Voting Mishaps Explained

Billie Alvarez, elections division manager for the Santa Barbara County Clerk, responded this week to two allegations of voting mishaps reported after the February 5 elections. In one case, registered Democrat Sheryl Hermann said she was sent a Republican ballot and had to drive to the County Elections Office in Santa Maria to exchange it. Alvarez countered that Hermann re-registered as a Democrat after the Republican ballot had been mailed. She did not need to return her unused Republican ballot, only to ignore it and wait for the Democratic ballot to arrive.

The second allegation was by Charity Thoman, former field coordinator for the Obama campaign, who said that poll workers prevented her husband from casting a regular ballot on election day because he was registered as a nonaffiliated voter. Instead, he received a provisional ballot. Alvarez said David Thoman was given a provisional ballot because records showed he had already voted by mail. His mailed ballot had no candidates because he did not respond to a letter advising him that the Elections Office would send him a ballot, upon request, from either the Democratic or the Independent parties, which allow participation by nonaffiliated voters.

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