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Orange County

Supervisors' Committee to Study Election Problems

The county's new computerized system, and balloting errors that affected some 7,000 voters, will undergo added scrutiny.

March 17, 2004|Stuart Pfeifer | Times Staff Writer

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to form a committee of two supervisors to review problems with the county's new voting system, including an election day glitch that caused many voters to end up with the wrong ballots.

Board Chairman Tom Wilson said he wanted the committee -- Supervisors Bill Campbell and Chris Norby -- to review all reports and audits of the system and to make suggestions to prevent future problems.

Campbell and Norby intend to review all written reports about the performance of the electronic voting equipment in the March 2 election and conduct at least one hearing on the matter.

"This is an opportunity to really learn from the March election

The Times analyzed voting records and determined about 7,000 voters cast ballots in the wrong precincts. Many of those voters simply cast ballots with the wrong precinct numbers, but the proper races were on the ballots. Other voters were given ballots that included races for state Senate or Assembly districts in which they were ineligible to vote.

Last week, Campbell said he thought it would be a good idea for the Orange County Grand Jury to review the election and would ask the county's internal auditor to do the same. Separately, county Registrar of Voters Steve Rodermund and California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley are preparing reports about the performance of Orange County's voting machines.

Wilson said he wants Campbell and Norby to monitor all the reports and return to the board with an analysis of the findings. The two-man committee is scheduled to first report to the board April 20.

Orange County last year spent $26 million to buy the voting machines from Texas-based Hart InterCivic.

Counties throughout the United States were ordered to do away with punch card voting systems because of problems with the equipment in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

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