California Democrats Claim They Were Re-Registered As Republicans: Today's Votes of Incompetence

People vote during early voting for the presidential election, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Miami. About 1.9 million Floridians
People vote during early voting for the presidential election, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Miami. About 1.9 million Floridians have already cast ballots eight days before Election Day, Nov 6. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

WASHINGTON -- Democratic activists in Riverside County, Calif., claim that a Republican voter outreach project may be illegally registering Democrats as Republicans to boost the GOP's registration advantage, according to CaliforniaWatch.org, an investigative journalism outfit.

The website reports, "In a complaint filed last week with the county registrar of voters, the Democrats presented affidavits from 133 Democratic voters who said they had been re-registered as Republicans without their consent after they encountered petition circulators outside welfare offices and stores."

A local Democratic Party spokesman told CaliforniaWatch.org that the registration project's efforts may aid GOP fundraising efforts (by making local races seem more winnable) and impede Democrats' ability to turn out their voters. A spokeswoman for the Golden State Voter Participation Project denied the allegations, saying, "Our canvassers are trained about the laws, the rules and how to conduct themselves."

Here are some other election-related mishaps in the news:

In Palm Beach County, Fla., election officials are red-faced about yet another printing error on absentee ballots. As HuffPost reported last week, the county must manually fill out copies of 27,000 absentee ballots that can't be digitally scanned because of a design error. On Monday, elections supervisor Susan Bucher told the Palm Beach Post that she had to send new absentee ballots to another 500 voters because the flawed ballots they received didn't contain one of 11 proposed amendments to the state's constitution. The ballots also allow people to vote twice on three of those amendments because one of the ballot pages appears twice.

In Lakeland, Fla., an editorial in The Ledger warns that strict rules for counting absentee ballots may prevent some ballots from being counted. It points to a provision of Florida law that states, "After an absentee ballot is received by the supervisor, the ballot is deemed to have been cast, and changes or additions may not be made to the voter's certificate." The concern is that voters who don't sign their absentee ballots before turning them in will have their ballots invalidated. In a swing state like Florida, every vote may make a difference: A mere 537 Florida votes separated George W. Bush from Al Gore 12 years ago.

In Oneida County, N.Y., officials say the cost of fixing a typo on 130,000 ballots will be about $75,000, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch. The newspaper reports that the county had to print brand-new ballots because the "c" was missing from President Barack Obama's first name. "I called the printer [Albany-based Fort Orange Press]," County Executive Anthony Picente told the paper. "She can cry poor me [in] this election and that election. They did it wrong and this is an embarrassment."

In the neck-and-neck presidential contest in Ohio, provisional ballots could delay the final count for days after the election, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Provisional ballots are given to voters when their eligibility is in doubt. After Nov. 6, election boards will meet to determine whether these voters were indeed eligible and thus their ballots can be counted. Bloomberg News reports that 206,859 provisional ballots were cast in Ohio in 2008, and 81 percent of them proved to be valid and were counted. If this year's race is extremely close, provisional ballots could decide which candidate wins the state, and possibly the presidency.

Follow Daniel Lippman on Twitter at @dlippman



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