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Voice: Mendoza campaign manager questions eleciton's propriety

March 08, 2002

The dust hasn't settled from Tuesday's election. But what is more unsettling than the dust is the entire voting process.

I am first unhappy because my son never received his absentee ballot. I mailed the envelope at the El Centro post office (I walked in and dropped it in the slot). When by election day he didn't have the ballot, I assumed it had been lost in the mail. On election day after I voted I checked the voters' signature page and noticed my son's name didn't have an "AV" for absentee voter next to his name.

Now my question is where is my son's ballot? The precinct worker also informed me that many people had complained about not receiving an absentee ballot.

On election night as we waited and waited for the final count, Calexico's ballots were first reported as "late" and then later the radio announcer reported the "Elections Department was looking in to the reason they were late." Finally about 11:30 p.m. the ballot boxes were delivered. Where had they been?


In last night's Imperial Valley Press it was reported the "new precinct" workers were taking extra care to count the unused ballots and compare the numbers to those actually voting. I also plan to review those numbers, too.

Yesterday at my school the Calexico voters I work with complained about not knowing their voting precinct had changed. Fortunately, they were able to take the "tour de Calexico" to find their new precinct. What about those without transportation?

Then to add more cause for alarm about how the voting process went, I read in the I.V. Press that the "new" precinct workers didn't know where the ballot machines were so they instructed the voters to punch out the holes with a pencil. Now do we have the case of the "pencil chads"? But wait, the story may not be correct. Another report is the voters were instructed to mark their choices with a pencil to be machine marked later.

As the campaign manager for Ernie Mendoza's campaign, I did seek reassurance from my member of the Board of Supervisors that all was in readiness for election day. I was being proactive because of the "lack of enough ballots in Brawley four years ago" issue.

I was assured that the voting department was ready. Unfortunately they weren't ready because on the day before the election they needed to fill vacant precinct worker positions.

So what's next for our campaign committee? This Tuesday's elections are still "unofficial." We will wait for the official results and then decide. We spent our time, money and resources to present our candidate. We only want the culmination of our efforts to be fair. My logic tells me something is wrong. For those who know me, be ready to expect anything. My phone number is 355-2761 for any comments the public would like to add.



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