Ballot for deceased voter raises concerns about L.A. County election integrity

By David Rosenfeld and Ryan Carter,
Los Angeles Daily News,
October 9, 2020


It wasn’t exactly news to Jonathan Savell that the previous owner of the home he purchased seven years ago was deceased. He bought it on probate.

But when two vote-by-mail ballots showed up this week, one for him and one for the previous owner, it made him wonder about the integrity of the November election. Due to the coronavirus, this is the first year every active voter in the state received a mail-in ballot.

“Everybody has concerns about integrity and stuff. I think that it is not a partisan issue,” said Savell, who lives in Inglewood. “Everybody should be worried. Anyone has the capability of cheating if something is sent their way.”

While safeguards are in place, such as signature verifications and strong penalties for fraud, election integrity watchers concede that in a county as big as Los Angeles with roughly 5.6 million active voters, some amount of mistakes are liable to get made.

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The L.A. County Registrar has made a few already, such as roughly 2,100 ballots recently sent to Woodland Hills without the U.S. Presidential contest.

“I know it’s very distressing,” said Kim Alexander, president of California Voter Foundation. “I have been hearing a couple stories here and there. People are on high alert, and I’m glad people are paying close attention. But there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that voters are not aware of.”

Los Angeles resident Nate Duhon holds up the duplicate ballot he received for the 2020 election. (Photo courtesy Nate Duhon)

Los Angeles resident Nate Duhon also received two ballots this week, and he doesn’t know why. Now he’s not sure which ballot is the correct one.

“Now I’m thinking, ‘what’s going on?’” Duhon said. “It’s looking kind of shady to me… It was hard enough for some people to get the right to vote. Come on, we should have this perfected by now.”

Even if someone is issued multiple ballots, there are several ways to safeguard against voter fraud, according to the L.A. County Registrar. Each ballot contains a bar code so that it can be tracked and matched to each voter, ensuring that voters only cast one ballot. (Full Story)