STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Election results in San Joaquin County have been slow going after a problem with some ballots was discovered.
A printing problem with some ballot barcodes forced election officials to bring in additional help to count votes.
Both candidates and voters are in limbo right now waiting on results to come in, but the elections office said they’re 100% confident they will meet the state deadline.
“It’s really all hands on deck here in San Joaquin County to get this election done,” Olivia Hale said.
San Joaquin County Assistant Registrar of Voters Hale said a printing error on the ballot’s barcode is delaying election results.
San Joaquin County had to call in an additional 100 workers to help count votes.
“It’s reading it as not the correct election, or that something is wrong and saying this barcode can’t be read,” Hale said.
Hale estimates 25% to 30% or as many as 30,000 mail-in-votes have been rejected during scanning and have to be duplicated.
That process requires a team of two to transfer each vote from the defective ballot to a new one by hand before a second team verifies it.
“The original ballot and the duplicate ballot are compared to make sure it’s exactly accurate before it actually returns to the scanning room to be tabulated,” Hale said.
“The fact that the barcodes aren’t working is not the elections office’s fault. It was the vendor that is state-approved, that messed up,” Lee Neves, political consultant, said.
Neves, however, is critical of how the county handled the problem.
He said the public should have been notified as soon as they learned of the problem because transparency in elections is essential, especially after the 2020 election.
“That really erodes confidence in both the elections office, how they run elections and in Democracy itself,” Neves said.
He hopes people won’t be discouraged from voting in future elections.
“So for those elected officials who are in charge, hold them accountable to what has transpired here. But don’t let it defeat your faith in Democracy and your faith in the power of your vote,” Neves said.
Hale said their vendor has assured the county the problem with the barcodes won’t happen again but said she will be putting additional measures in place.
“So we’re hoping to have a successful election with no issues in November,” Hale said.
She said for anyone questioning the legitimacy of the election results their doors are open to the public.
“I want the public to know this is their election. I want them to come in. We’re more than happy to give them a tour, walk them through the process if they still have questions. I’ll let them sit down and observe a specific process if they so wish. Our doors are open, and the public is welcome at any time,” Hale said.
The elections office said updated results are expected to be posted online Tuesday by 9.