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The Special Election | THE GOVERNOR

Balloting Snafu Briefly Snares Schwarzenegger

November 09, 2005|Robert Salladay | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up at his Brentwood polling station Tuesday to cast his ballot in the special election -- and was told he had already voted. In Pasadena.

Elections officials said a Los Angeles County poll worker had entered Schwarzenegger's name into an electronic voting touch screen station in Pasadena on Oct. 25. The worker, who was not identified, was testing the voting machine in preparation for early voting that began the next day.

Somehow, Schwarzenegger's name was then placed on a list of people who had already voted, said Conny B. McCormack, the Los Angeles County registrar.

Schwarzenegger's aides were informed of the problem when they arrived Tuesday to survey the governor's polling station. When Schwarzenegger showed up later, a poll worker told the governor he would have to use a "provisional" ballot that allows elections workers to later verify whether the same person cast two votes. McCormack said the poll worker did the correct thing.

The governor insisted on using a regular ballot and was allowed to do so.

McCormack said she apologized to the governor's staff and would investigate what happened. She said the governor's vote Tuesday will be counted.

Nobody actually voted in Schwarzenegger's name in Pasadena, she said. "This is someone who breached our protocol and was playing around in advance of the election," she said.

Tom Hiltachk, the governor's attorney, said, "I have no reason to believe anything nefarious occurred."

Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation, said the problem highlights the need for better verification of electronic voting.

"If the governor is going to have a mix-up on his ballot," she said, "it will make other voters wonder what is going to happen with their ballots."

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