Local Elections

El Dorado County voters still waiting to get mail ballots

Elections workers count the number of ballots in the El Dorado election office during on election day June 8, 2010. From left are Mary Warden, Doris Morgan and Linda Daniels, all of Placerville, and Alice Maslen of Camino.
Elections workers count the number of ballots in the El Dorado election office during on election day June 8, 2010. From left are Mary Warden, Doris Morgan and Linda Daniels, all of Placerville, and Alice Maslen of Camino. Sacramento Bee file

Some El Dorado County voters have inundated their elections office with calls after not receiving mail ballots for the Nov. 8 election.

Registrar of Voters Bill Schultz said the problem lies with the U.S. Postal Service, since his office mailed the ballots Oct. 11-14. That means USPS has failed to deliver some of them within 10 days.

“Everybody is excited about the election,” Schultz said. “They want their ballot.”

Schultz said he thinks the delays are due to the volume of mail – his office sent about 70,000 ballots – and because of the way the Postal Service distributes mail. USPS hauls the ballots down Highway 50 to West Sacramento for sorting before delivering them back up in El Dorado County.

Schultz said the delays have been inconsistent, as some voters have received ballots while others have not.

Local USPS spokeswoman Meiko Patton did not respond Friday to questions provided to her earlier in the day.

As the public has increasingly used email and commercial delivery services, USPS has delivered less mail and consolidated its operations. The West Sacramento processing and distribution center has assumed the responsibilities of distribution centers that closed in Stockton in 2011 and Redding in 2012, according to the service’s website.

Schultz’s office has re-sent ballots upon request or advised voters they can pick up ballots at its Placerville location, he said.

The Nov. 8 ballot includes the presidential election, 17 statewide ballot initiatives and local races, including one for the county Board of Supervisors.

While voters have complained about delayed ballot deliveries in the past, the number of complaints this year far surpasses past years, Schultz said. Election officials in Sacramento and Placer counties said they have received some complaints about undelivered ballots, but no more than in previous elections.

Alan Day, who is running for re-election on the El Dorado Irrigation District, said the Postal Service’s failures should give officials pause as they push for more people to vote by mail.

“It calls into question the integrity of the system,” he said.

Day said he’s had his own problems with election mail. He said he paid for 10,000 campaign cards to be mailed last week, but as of Friday, none had been received by voters in his district. He said his printer has not been able to get an explanation from the Postal Service.

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