Will the lastest voting embarrassment in Los Angeles County finally be enough to persuade lawmakers to clearly spell out in the Elections Code that the ballots of voters whose intent was clear should be counted, regardless of whether they followed all the nit-picking requirements placed on the ballots for the convenience of elections officials?
The latest word from Los Angeles is that more 94,000 ballots of decline-to-state voters who cast ballots in last week's presidential primaries were tossed out because they did not fill in a bubble that asked which party's primary they were voting in. This follows the fiasco in San Diego in 2004 in which write-in candidate Donna Frye received the most votes but lost the election because several thousand voters who wrote in her name did not also fill in a bubble indicating that that they were voting for a write-in candidate.
These bubbles are exclusively put there for the convenience of machine-tabulating the results. They were not put there to test a voter's ability to follow arcane instructions. Last week, thousands of voters cast ballots for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, but their votes were discounted because they did not also expressly say they were voting in the Democratic Party primary. In 2004, thousands of San Diegans took the trouble to write in the name "Donna Frye" -- even spelling it correctly -- but their votes were discounted.
It's absurd, it's an affront to democracy -- and the disenfranchisement it engenders has been upheld by the courts.
It's time to make the Elections Code crystal clear: If a voter's intent is unmistakable, count his or her ballot. Anything short of that is a victory for bureaucracy over common sense.