Election Administration Issues for Key 2018 Primary Elections

Eight states voted on Tuesday in their primary elections, and at least two of them had significant problems in voting. In the South Dakota primaries, a Republican voter was told by an election supervisor to use an incorrect ballot.

Wrong place, wrong ballot. Voters contacted KELOLAND News about receiving the wrong ballots on election day. That includes Mark Millage, who lives in Sioux Falls. 

On their ballot, Republican voters in district nine got to choose between state senate candidates Lora Hubbel and Wayne H. Steinhauer. When Millage went to vote, polling place workers gave him a District 9 ballot. The problem is he is a District 11 voter. 

He says he told the polling place supervisor, who called county auditor Bob Litz's office. Millage, the former news director for KELOLAND News, says they told him to use the wrong ballot anyway.

Incorrect ballots were not the only problem for South Dakota’s Tuesday Primaries as a computer glitch in Sioux Falls led to chaos at a number of polling locations.

More than half the voting sites, 16 in all, extended the closing time on Tuesday’s election day to accommodate a late start to ballot-casting thanks to a computer problem: The county-issued Dell Computers that navigated the new e-poll book service were not connecting to the secure hot spots provided by a separate router for each device. 

Julie Pearson, Pennington County auditor, said she had no idea of how many voters were turned away at polling places, but the clunky equipment failure dogged many precincts. The laptops started up, but the election software connecting officials to the Secretary of State's voter registration. 

There was no paper back-up on hand, and without voter registration lists, poll workers couldn’t verify a voter’s identification and protect the integrity of the election process.

In California, voting issues were also rampant Tuesday as over 100,000 voters were left off voting rosters in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan told CBS Los Angeles voters whose names did not appear on the roster at their polling place would be given provisional ballots, after a printing issue affected the voter rolls of more than one in four precincts. A total of 118,522 names were omitted.

Another controversy in California dealt with questions of impropriety as the Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco was used as a polling location for the California Senate Primary which featured Senator Dianne Feinstein.

These problems show the importance of poll watchers and lawyer observers to ensure open, fair and honest elections. Not just to stop vote fraud.