Elections office to be audited after series of errors

The Elections Office in the Bay Area's largest county is going to be audited after a series of errors over the past seven years.

The Santa Clara County Elections Office is preparing for a state audit after a number of errors with sample ballots, voter information guides, and vote by mail ballots.

The South Bay lawmaker spearheading the effort says he can't recall any other office being the target of such an audit.

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, asked an Assembly committee for a formal audit of the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office and Wednesday the committee agreed.

In a letter to Santa Clara County Board President Dave Cortese, Low cited six examples of administrative errors including:
-2010: More than 2,000 ballots mailed to ineligible voters
-2014: 100,000 sample ballots missing some candidate sections
-2014: 400,000 voters in San Jose received voter pamphlets missing information
-2016: Some voters' guide had the wrong argument against a measure
"I'm very open to it. We're here to fully cooperate and be transparent as we always are with everything we do," said Shannon Bushey, the Santa Clara County Registrar.
Bushey has held the position since 2014. She calls the state audit a great thing..
"It would be good to have an outside view, an outside eye come in and see if there are any recommendations they can give us that would help us improve," said Bushey.

Bushey said her office has been upfront with past errors and immediately notified voters and says she's confident in the accuracy of election results.

She says the cause for each error has been different, ranging from vendor issues to internal mistakes and being provided the wrong information from jurisdictions.

"There are other counties that have had errors in their pamphlets. It's not unheard of," said Bushey.
But Assemblyman Low says a review by him showed Santa Clara County stood out compared to the rest of California.
"As chair of the Elections Committee, we have not seem such systemic errors in any of the other 58 counties," said Assemblyman Low.
The audit is expected to take 5 months to complete. After any findings are released, the County Board of Supervisors can decide what kind of action to take.