Many Mono County voters wait in long lines to cast provisional ballots
Some Mono County voters experienced lines over an hour long to cast provisional ballots at the polling place at Mammoth High School on Tuesday, November 8.
There were varying reasons for the problems—some voters had moved and changed their address without re-registering, some had received mail-in ballots but showed up to vote in person, and many reported never having received mail-in ballots prior to the election.
Maria Hernandez told The Sheet that she never received a ballot in the mail, and did not remember registering to vote by mail. “There was a huge line” to complete a provisional ballot, said Hernandez, whose employer had encouraged both she and her coworker, Isabel Contreras, to go vote. “[My boss] said ‘Why did you take so long?’” when Contreras and Hernandez returned, Contreras told The Sheet. “I said, well, because they’re a little unorganized.”
Contreras said poll workers told her that her last name was not on file, and instructed her to fill out a provisional ballot. Hernandez said she was listed as “vote by mail,” but never received a ballot in the mail. Skylar Simpkins, a first-time voter, was also listed as a “vote by mail” but never received a mail-in ballot.
“A lot of people had all those lists mixed up,” Simpkins told The Sheet. “The ways they were voting were all wrong.”
“I don’t remember ever seeing [a mail-in ballot],” said Danielle Broderick, 20, another first-time voter, who was at the polls with her mother, Karen Broderick. “I just thought if we showed up here we could vote.”
Both Cara Richards and her boyfriend Tyson Carr were leaving the polls to go check their homes for their mail-in ballots.
“I assumed we would be able to do it either way,” said Richards. “There’s no point in casting a provisional ballot.”
Brandon Brocia had moved recently and had to re-register. He said he did not want to fill out a provisional ballot because they “Don’t count unless it’s very close.”
Many people assume that provisional ballots are not counted unless races turn out to be extremely tight. However, California voting officials say that provisional ballots are counted if they are valid.