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Sequoia Voting Systems may have sent as many as 126 misprinted ballots out to District voters, LL has learned.
The ballots, as LL posted yesterday, were printed for one Ward 2 ANC single-member district (2F03) yet included the Ward 6 school board seat while omitting the Ward 2 council and school board seats. In a press release yesterday, the Board of Elections and Ethics said that “Purely as a precaution, the Board is contacting all voters for whom we requested this particular ballot style.” That group—-of all voters who were supposed to get that ballot design—-is what the 126-ballot figure represents.
The way absentee ballots work, the BOEE sends a list of absentee requests to Sequoia, which prints the ballots then mails them directly to the voters. The board says that it had requested that the proper design be sent to the voter who received the bad ballot that came to light yesterday.
As for why the bad design was created in the first place, BOEE spokesperson Dan Murphy says, “We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of that.” The best guess at this point, he says, is that the board’s computer systems contained a “ghost” from a previous redistricting, where the 300 and 400 blocks of 13th Street NW were listed as being in Ward 6 rather than Ward 2. No voters are contained on those blocks, however, so no voter should have been given the ballots, Murphy says.
In other words, there was two errors here: An ballot-design error by the elections board that should have been harmless, and an error by Sequoia in sending out a ballot other than the one the board had ordered.
The 126-ballot figure, confirmed by Murphy, was provided to staffers in Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh‘s office, who yesterday examined each of some 125 different ballot designs. Only the 2F03 ballot was found to include errors.