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Alameda County Alerts Berkeley Voters to Ballot Snafu

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An Alameda County mail-in ballot, with incorrect date of 2014 general election showing in address window at lower right.

Alameda County elections officials are sending out cards to alert 27,000 voters in Berkeley that they've received mail-in ballots imprinted with the incorrect date for next month's election.

The address window in Alameda County mail-in ballots displaying incorrect date for this year's election.
The address window in Alameda County mail-in ballots displaying incorrect date for this year's election.

The ballots arrived in voters' mailboxes last month. In addition to the legend "Official Election Balloting Material," the ballots' address window says, "Election Day November 5, 2014."

That's a day after the actual election day, Nov. 4, which is also the deadline for the county Registrar of Voters to receive mail-in ballots. Under state law, ballots not turned in by 8 p.m. that night will not be counted.

Among closely contested issues that Berkeley voters will decide are Measure D, the city's soda tax proposal, and Measure R, a proposal to rewrite the city's downtown development ordinance.

More details of the misdated mail-in ballots, via Bay City News:

"This is an unfortunate error on some vote-by-mail envelopes sent to voters in Berkeley, and we deeply regret any confusion this may be causing," Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis said in a statement.

Dupuis's office is mailing letters to each voter that received the erroneous return envelopes and is sending emails to each voter that provided an email address to the registrar. The office will also be telling voters of the correct date through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

"We are glad that we discovered the error relatively early in the process," Dupuis said. "This will allow us to take a number of corrective measures in the coming weeks to remind our voters that Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4."

A printer used by the county and other large counties in California has taken responsibility for the error. Dupuis said his office is taking additional safeguards to avoid misprints in the future.

More than half of registered voters in Alameda County vote by mail. The 27,000 voters who received the misprinted envelopes represent about 6 percent of the 422,000 voters who are registered to vote by mail in Alameda County.


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