Late-arriving ballots a result of ‘meticulous' poll workers

March 06, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Sixteen ballot boxes stuffed full of Calexican votes were delivered to county election headquarters in El Centro later than expected.

County Clerk Dolores Provencio said the delay was caused by "meticulous" election officials who checked and rechecked the number of ballots they were assigned against the number of ballots used.

"We had some new poll workers. For some it was their first time," Provencio said.

Provencio said, "I'm not going to fault the poll workers. The (new poll workers) graciously answered our call at the last minute."


The 16 ballot boxes were delivered to El Centro around midnight, four hours after polls closed.

Before being sent to El Centro the ballot boxes were all taken to a secure Calexico location, where their arrival was logged by an elections official.

Once all the boxes were gathered at the secure location around 11:30 p.m., the ballots were motored to El Centro.

Provencio said all of Calexico's votes in the city's 16 ballot boxes arrived in El Centro at the same time.

Earlier on election day there was an irregularity in the election process in Calexico.

Voters who went to the Hotel De Anza's polling place between the 7 and 10 a.m. did not use the three allotted hole punch voting machines. Elections officials there did not know the machines were in the building.

In lieu of the machines, voters were told to mark their ballots with sharpened pencils.

A De Anza precinct election official said voters were given space in the lobby to mark their ballots in privacy.

Outside the hotel, workers for the "No on B" campaign, local candidates and some of their associates milled about passing out flyers and pamphlets.

Some voters took the information into the hotel lobby and used the chairs there to read the campaign platforms of various candidates.

Provencio said the voters were allowed to take the paraphernalia into the polling place.

"Whatever the voter takes in to help them to make a selection is OK," she said.

She added, "What we hope is not happening is people leaving their literature behind."

While that did happen at the polling place, election officials tried to keep up with the paper trail; dutifully disposing of leftover campaign materials.

There was a bucket full of pamphlets and flyers next to the main table where people were registering around 10 a.m.

Besides those issues, Provencio said her Calexico "rover" found little to report.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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