Voting guide mistake in the South Bay

- It’s another twist in the competitive race for Santa Clara County Supervisor. Seven candidates are vying for the seat. One candidate said a printing mistake in the voter information guide could cost him votes.

Besides knocking on doors, candidates like Jason Baker who's running for Santa Clara County Supervisor rely on voter information guides. Limited to 200 words, Baker's first three lines stated he was a previous mayor, Santa Clara University graduate and former firefighter. He opened the guide Friday and the information wasn’t there.

“I felt really disappointed,” said Baker. “This is a hard thing to get your information out to voters. I think a lot of voters rely on this voter information pamphlet than any other document.”

The registrar’s office blames a printing error with long-time vendor Merrill Corporation and said the file that was approved wasn't used but an older version instead. It was sent to 174,000 voters. The district covers Santa Clara, Campbell and west San Jose.

“As an institution this is another in a long line of failures either by them or their vendors and it's frustrating,” said Baker. “It's not good for democracy and it's not fair to the voters.”

“We immediately began our process of how we would rectify the issue,” said Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey. 

The office plans to send a letter as well as all seven candidates’s complete statements to voters. The costs of printing, postage and staff time will be billed to the vendor. The registrar did not reveal the cost.

This isn't the first time the office has come under fire. A state audit last year found past errors including wrong or missing information in voter pamphlets.

“There are thousands and thousands of things that could cause an error in an election, and human error, sometimes one issue will slip through as it did this time but we continue to work diligently for transparency and accuracy to the best of our abilities,” said Bushey. 

Seven candidates are running. Two candidates face accusations of past sexual misconduct which both adamantly deny.

With mail-in ballots already coming in, Baker hopes to get the word out before any further damage is done.

The registrar's office said they've received 1,000 mail-in ballots from District 4. The office plans to notify voters by mail, as well as on its web site and at early voting centers. Baker is the only candidate with missing information.
 

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