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Problems Delay Thousands of Absentee Ballots

March 04, 2000

Thousands of Los Angeles County voters who applied for absentee ballots may not get them in time for Tuesday's election because of an undetermined mail glitch, officials said.

Absentee voters who have not received the forms are urged to go to the registrar's main office in Norwalk today, Sunday or Monday to vote or pick up replacement ballots, said Registrar-Recorder Conny McCormack. A voter can also designate another person to collect a replacement ballot, preferably with a letter in hand from the voter authorizing the pickup.

The office at 12400 Imperial Highway will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those days, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, McCormack said.

Another option is to vote at the assigned local polling place Tuesday. To find out where to vote call (800) 815-2666 or go to the Internet at http://regrec.co.la.ca.us

What happened to the missing ballots is still being sorted out, but signed receipts show the U.S. Postal Service received them from her office last month, McCormack said.

"A lot of the problem mail was delivered to them on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of February," McCormack said, adding that while missing and delayed ballots are common, the number this year appeared unprecedented.

J.P. Morgan, the Los Angeles distribution manager for the U.S. Postal Service, said his office is reviewing the matter. He added that workers have mailed all the absentee ballots they located. "Normally, we see a large amount at one time," brought in by McCormack's office, he said. "We didn't see that this time."

Of 3.8 million registered voters in the county, 408,800 requested absentee ballots, McCormack said. As of Friday, 3,800 had called to complain about missing ballots.

Completed absentee ballots must be received by the registrar no later than 8 p.m. on election day and can be dropped off at any of the 4,926 polling places countywide, she said.

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