New Data Confirms Findings of “Missing” Mail Ballots in California’s 2018 Midterm
Government report shows surge in provisional voting driven by mail voters who had to vote at the polls.
Santa Clarita, Calif. –The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in Julypublished quantitative data fromthe 2018 Midterm’s Election Administration and Voting Survey, whichmeasuresvoter registration and voting activity for all counties in the country. Election Integrity Project California, Inc. (EIPCa)analyzed the California countiesand today reported that the EAC data confirms its earlier-published report thatsignificant numbers of vote-by-mail (VBM) ballotswere not delivered to votersin California’s 2018 midterm election. EIPCa’sreport, titled “Failures in California’s 2018 Midterm Election Demand Serious Investigation,”*documented that thousands of VBM voters did not receive their ballots in that election. Many of these voters instead came to the polls but had to vote provisionally because they had no VBM ballotsto surrender. Importantly, unknown is how manypeopledid not votebecause they did not receive their VBM ballots.EIPCa’s report summarized whatits observerswitnessed at polling places in just eight of 58 counties on November 6, 2018.In a small sampling (2-10%)of polling places in the eight counties, the poll observers documentedover 1,300vote-by-mail voters who came to the polls to vote because they did not receive their VBM ballots in the mail. Forced to vote provisionally, many became worried or convincedtheir votes would not be counted. The new EAC data confirms thatin Los Angeles Countyalone,three times as many provisional ballots were cast in 2018 than inthe 2014 midterm.At the time, the county election office spokesperson admittedto the mediathat most of the surge was due tothose“listed as vote-by-mail voters who didn’t havemail ballots with themto surrender”.**
The new EAC report***confirms thatmost of LA County’sprovisional voting was driven by vote-by-mail voters without a ballot to surrender. According to the EAC, 282,240 Los Angeles County vote-by-mail voters that actually came to the pollshad to voteprovisionally in that election, accounting for two-thirds of all provisional ballots cast. Similar patterns of VBM voters forced to voteprovisionally were seen inEAC and VoteCal data for San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, Ventura, Fresno, Humboldt, San Franciscoand San Joaquin counties. 2018 is the first year that this statistic has been required by the EAC, so there are no comparative figures from previous elections. The increase in provisional voting may bepartially explained by increased overall voter turnout. Statewide voterturnout in the 2018midtermdid increase by 60% over the 2014 midterm;however,provisional voting increased by 221%. Mirroring Los Angeles County, two-thirds of all provisional ballots cast in California were VBM voters forcedto vote provisionally. EIPCa is undertaking a county-by-county inquiry and analysis to answer, among other questions, why so many requested VBM ballots were not delivered to voters in 2018. This mustbe prevented in California’s 2020 election cycle.“The data from the Election Assistance Commission underscores our concerns that there was a systemic breakdown in the delivery of mail ballots to voters in several counties in 2018,” said EIPCa President Linda Paine.“We are especially concerned about vote-by-mail voters who did not vote because they did not receive their ballots.I encourage vote-by-mailvoterswho did not receive theirmail ballotsin the 2018 election to contact us and tell us their stories.”
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EIPCa is a non-partisan, non-profit, volunteer organization. For over 8 years it has researched and observed California elections to provide citizen oversight to ensure that the state and its counties are complying with laws that protect the integrity of elections. For a full list of counties, go to: eip–ca.com.