By Allen Payton
Long-time Antioch residents Malcolm and Rosanna Hunter vote in every election. Malcolm usually votes by mail. But, this year he decided to drop off his mail-in ballot at the polls. When they went to their usual polling place at Carmen Dragon Elementary School, their names weren’t on the list of registered voters.
Performing a search on the County Elections office website, using their home address, it shows their polling place is at Carmen Dragon Elementary, where Rosanna votes each election.
They had heard of problems like this occurring elsewhere throughout the country, or people’s votes being changed by the machine they’re using, or only seeing Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s and her running mate, Tim Kaine’s names on the ballot.
So, the Hunters called the County Elections office and Malcolm said the staff member, there, confirmed they were on the list of registered voters and for voting at that polling location.
However, Rosanna was given a provisional ballot to cast her votes. They thought that means her ballot won’t be counted unless an election is close.
When reached for comment, Melissa Hickok of the County Elections Division office said, “They (the Hunters) are on the master voter list. The voter rosters are for people who are supposed to vote at that polling place. Those are the precinct voters for that precinct. Permanent vote-by-mail voters are not on the precinct rosters.”
“I’m showing her polling place at Carmen Dragon Elementary,” she added. “That polling place might have had more than one precinct. She might have been at the wrong table.
After doing a brief bit of research, Hickok said, “Carmen Dragon does have two precincts.”
Asked if the poll workers are trained to know that and instruct voters about it, she responded, “A seasoned poll worker would. I’m not sure how seasoned our staff was, out there.”
“Her provisional ballot will still be counted,” Hickok said. “Provisionals are not counted on Election Day. What we do is we count Election Day votes and vote-by-mail votes which are tied to the voter ID.”
“Then we look at the provisional ballots, last and we compare the name to their information in our system,” she explained. “Then if there hasn’t another ballot voted for by that person already, we run their ballot and it gets counted.”
“If she wants to go back and check the master voting list her name will be there,” Hickok stated.
“If she chooses to go back, have her ask for the inspector. Don’t talk to any of the front lines, about seeing the master voting list,” Hickok instructed. “If she (Mrs. Hunter) votes in the correct precinct, then her provisional wouldn’t get counted, because she had already voted.”
The polls close at 8:00 p.m., tonight. Election results will be posted to the Elections website, www.cocovote.us, throughout the night and will be updated by 5:00 pm on Thursday November 10th and then every Friday until the election is certified.
The county has until December 6th to certify the Presidential Election and until December 8th to certify all other items on the ballot.
Local election results will also be available throughout Election Night on Contra Costa Television (CCTV) beginning at 9:00 pm on Comcast channel 27, Astound channel 32 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99.