A total of 2,047 voters have been impacted by an elections snafu after they were sent the wrong March 3 election ballots that failed to include Measure N, a San Carlos School District parcel tax measure, election officials said today. It is unclear how many, if any, voters have returned ballots that excluded the measure, but considering how close recent funding measures on the Peninsula have become, the every vote counts mantra has never been more accurate.
The Elections Office is notifying affected voters that they will receive a replacement ballot that corrects the omission of Measure N, an annual 8-year parcel tax supporting the school district. The measures requires approval from two-thirds of voters to pass.
Travis Dunn, Elections Specialist for the San Mateo County Elections Office, believes the ballot printing vendor mistakenly sent out only one ballot to a community that is a split precinct, where members of the same precinct vote on different issues. The ballot that was sent did not include Measure N, election officials said. It was the only measure affected, officials said.
Affected voters are being asked to discard their previous ballot and use the replacement one. Ballots that have already been submitted will be discarded when the second, corrected ballot is returned, election officials said. If voters don’t use their new ballot, their votes from their old ballot will still count towards measures shared between the precincts, Dunn said. And for those who voted on issues outside their district, those particular votes won’t count, the elections office said.
On Friday, Feb. 7, San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer March Church notified the San Carlos School District about the ballot misprint, indicating at the time that 165 voters within the school district received a ballot that did not include Measure N, according to Amber Farinha, director of enterprise & community relations for the district.
“We want to make sure voters are aware of the error and look for their new ballot and return it before March 3,” Farinha said, adding that the district’s last measure in 2015 narrowly passed by 110 votes.
This mistake comes on the heels of a particularly tough election cycle last year where complaints of late ballots and slow counts were registered against the elections department run by Church. Also in October 2018, ballots began arriving in San Mateo County mailboxes more than a week late after a race for the Board of Education was left off the ballot. Previous to that, a race for local judgeship was omitted from the ballot.