SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) —Depending on the county, some ballot envelopes have holes that could expose a voter’s answer to one of the questions on the recall ballot.
A photo from a viewer in Nevada County shows a hole in the envelope exposing an unfilled bubble. When the ballot is removed from the envelope, it shows the unfilled bubble is for the first question on the ballot – Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled from the office of the governor?
This is not the case for every county, just in those that use certain processing equipment and had ballots printed in a certain way.
“Voters have control as to how they place the ballot in the envelope. Some counties have a completely blank side of the ballot they can fold in that direction so there’s absolutely nothing showing when they place it in the envelope, some of the holes do not correspond with county envelopes with any information on the ballot whatsoever,” Donna Johnston, president of the California Association of Clerks and Elections officials said.
But why even have the holes?
“One reason is that they help identify that the ballot has been extracted from the envelope for counties that use processing equipment. And the others, they’re placed so that a visually-impaired voter will know where to sign,” Johnston said.
According to Political Data Inc.’s recall ballot return tracker, nearly 800,000 ballots have been returned to local elections officials as of Monday afternoon — about 3% of all ballots.
For those who already turned in their ballots, possibly with answers exposed, Johnston says those voters shouldn’t worry.
“Elections officials are very hardworking, dedicated people who are just trying to help get every vote to count,” she said. “They want to make sure every ballot gets processed, so they are not concerned with how somebody voted but making sure their ballot is properly cast.”
For voters who might still have concerns with returning the mail-in ballot, Johnston says there will be opportunities to vote in person when polls begin opening on Sept. 4.