OC recount changes election result, reveals potential issues with multilingual ballots

A close and disputed election in Orange County (CA), for a county supervisor’s seat, seems close to resolution. The candidate who apparently lost by seven votes in the initial tally requested a recount, and based on the recount, she now is ahead by seven votes.

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times this morning, the recount seems to have involved a manual recount of absentees and provisionals, but an electronic recounting of votes cast on election day on Orange County’s e-voting machines.

The disputed race involved two Vietnamese candidates, and the election itself is thought to have energized Vietnamese voters in Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Westminster. And the race has raised some issues about multilingual ballots, according to the LA Times story:

Advisors for both sides said the recount turned on less than three dozen ballots that were either invalidated or improperly counted the first time.

Some voters either initialed or signed their names to ballots, which invalidated them, Greer said.

“One person wrote, ‘Could all the candidates please stop saying bad things about each other.’ ”

Virtually all of the affected votes came from Vietnamese-language ballots, Schroeder said, which indicated to him that they were “first-time voters, new citizens. That’s very common.”