Registrar of Voters acknowledges ballot design flaw

Posted at 11:34 AM, Oct 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 21:46:10-04

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Registrar of Voters office and city of San Diego leaders Wednesday confirmed that a design flaw with the ballot could impact voting in next month's election.

Officials say if voters use a felt-tip pen, or a similar type of pen, to fill in "Yes" on Measure E, the ink can bleed through to the other side, marking the "No" bubble for Measure K.

Registrar of Voters Michael Vu "has acknowledged the issue and agreed to manually examine all the ballots while they are being counted, but voters should be informed of proactive measures they can take to ensure their votes are cast and counted as intended before a problem occurs."


San Diego resident Kaia Los Huertos supports Measure K, which would require all election processes for elected city offices to consist of a primary election in June and a runoff election in November for the top two candidates.

Currently, the candidate who wins the majority in June wins the office outright without a runoff in November.

"I looked into the numbers and like half the number of people vote in primaries and I don't think that's fair or right," Los Huertos said. "We're electing people in San Diego in June when half the number of people are voting."

Los Huertos wanted the county to send a written warning to voters about the ink bleed-through issue.

Instead, proponents of Measure K held a press conference calling attention to the ballot debacle.

"I'm really concerned," Los Huertos said. "I don't want to think about it not passing because I really think it's important that it passes, but I think it can hinder it, think it can be a barrier because they'll vote no even if they don't mean to."

Even San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez, who fought to get Measure K on the ballot, said he could've succumbed to the pen problem.

"Your vote could get invalidated by a machine if you're not careful, and so any little marking could trigger the machine to mark invalid vote on Measure K, so you just have to be very careful," Alvarez said.

He and other supporters of Measure K are calling on all voters to be particular about their pens.

"Just pick a good pen," said Los Huertos.

Vu said he and his team will manually check every single ballot and make sure that every "no" on Measure K is intentional. He also said it's standard to look at each ballot every year.
City leaders encourage those mailing in their ballots to use ballpoint pens when filling them out.

Voters who feel they may have made a mistake on their mail-in ballots can request a new one by calling the Registrar of Voters at 858-565-5800.

Voters can also head to their nearest polling place to obtain a new mail-in ballot.