June 7, 2016

Contra Costa County Elections Department: Voters deserve better than its continued poor performance

Not again.

Yes, again.

The Contra Costa County Elections Department, run by County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Joe Canciamilla, sure knows how to screw up voting on Election Day.

Back in June 2014, my Pleasant Hill, California precinct listed the address for the June Primary polling station as 3100 Oak Park Blvd.  Problem was, as reported in the local Contra Costa Times newspaper, that address didn’t exist.  Eventually discovered the correct location was 1 Santa Barbara Rd, which is more than a mile away.

It was the first time that location – a school – had been used as a polling place.  The voting room was located in the middle of the campus, so we (my husband Jim and I) had to walk across campus to get to the voting room.

Duh, huh?

Apparently not to school staff.

In walking across campus to the voting room, we were met by a sour puss physical education instructor, who informed us we could not be on campus without a pass.  Our reply?  “How can we vote if we aren’t allowed on campus. You know the polling station is here today, and located in the middle of campus, right?  We have to walk across campus to vote.”

County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Joe Canciamilla
Fast forward two years to today’s June 2016 Primary.  Guess what?  Yep, more of the same.  Blunders galore.

(1) We arrived at the polling location about 9:30 to vote.  The single ballot scanner (yes, just one, and a scanner with 1980’s technology at that!) at this location had already broken down.  Ballots had to be placed in a box to be scanned later.

(2) A couple poll workers late cancelled.  The location was left with 2 ladies (who have worked my precinct forever), and 1 young man who had only signed up yesterday, so he was being trained on the job.  And, polling location voting procedures in Contra Costa County were all new this year.  I really felt very sorry for the poll workers.

(3) Voting rosters were clearly incomplete.  I received all my voting information in the mail, but my name did not appear on the roster.  So, I had to vote via a provisional ballot.  (I did verify online that all of my voter registration information is correct.)

Could County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Joe Canciamilla get Election Day any more screwed up?
His actions only serve to discourage voter turnout.

Mr. Canciamilla:  both the voting public and poll workers deserve better.  Much better.

Can you please get your act together?
Mary Rae Fouts

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