Like many across the country, Long Beach residents are being asked to go to the polls today, June 3, 2014. As always, a variety of state and local issues and offices are in play from judgeships to the governor's office. But there's ballot confusion going on in Long Beach where voters are being asked to fill out not one, but two ballots; essentially, voting twice on election day!
The reason? The primary for the mayor's race was April 8th, less than 60 days prior to the June 3rd General Election and there was not time to add the candidates to the County ballots being printed plus the city's and state's voting systems are not compatible.
But it's causing confusion. This morning at my polling place. St. Matthew's Catholic Church (another issue to be addressed later) there was ballot confusion with the two separate ballots. Long Beach resident web-designer David Ethridge went to vote at 11 a.m. at Houghton Park on Atlantic in North Long Beach and actually had to return to vote for mayor.
"No one told me there was another ballot, no one directed me to the table, so after doing the County, I left," he told me exclusively today. When he was told thee were two ballots by another friend, he went back and indeed, cast another ballot for mayor.
"Had they not told me I would have never known," he added.
His partner, Toby Johnson, had the exact same experience and had to return to cast a ballot for mayor. "I was on my way to work and didn't have time to speak to my partner about voting. After I voted I called him to tell him I did it, he asked if I voted for mayor and I told him no, he wasn't on the ballot. He told me there was another, and I had to go back and go to the other side of the room and sign and vote there. No one told me."
I contacted mayoral candidate Robert Garcia's office and Suja Lowenthal by email, candidate for State Assembly. Lowenthal was "very concerned" and was going to start calling the appropriate parties to make sure precinct workers are alerting people about the two ballots.
With voting turnouts at all time lows, the last thing any race needs is major confusion amongst the voters and poll workers about a second ballot. It will be interesting to see how this effects the mayor's race in the city.