11 counties in California faced backlash from the US Department of Justice after they missed the deadline to send ballots to overseas and military voters. That left the counties and state scrambling for a solution.
The deadline, which passed on April 21, comes 45 days before an election. Some counties missed by just a day or two, others missed by far more.
But as quickly as the suit was brought forward, the Secretary of State reached a deal with the Federal Government. One election official from each county must complete training before the general election. Most counties have also offered overseas voters to return their ballots either by express mail or FedEX – at no cost to the voters..
In San Mateo County, one of those who missed the deadline, a last minute deletion from the list of candidates for county supervisors required all ballots be reprinted, a process that took too long to complete before the April 21 deadline. Some 2,266 ballots were mailed late from that county.
This was the first time that the state and counties had to comply with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, a 2009 law that requires voters in certain circumstances be sent their ballots 45 days before an election and be offered the opportunity to return the paper ballot or vote electronically.
Elections officials throughout California missed a deadline to send 8,250 ballots to overseas and military voters for next week’s presidential primary, prompting a lawsuit and swift settlement over the weekend between the state officials and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Eleven of the state’s 58 counties violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act by failing to send ballots to voters abroad on April 21 – 45 days before the primary. While about 5,450 of the late ballots were sent out within two days of missing the deadline, some were delayed as much as a week.
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