High demand for Democratic ballots catches election officials by surprise

Are we supposed to be comforted by the idea that photocopied ballots are being used in elections when they run out of paper ballots? What is the chain of custody rules for such ballots? How are they inventoried? How are they numbered and made distinct?

(California) County officials across the state were caught by surprise Tuesday by the number of “decline to state” voters who wanted to vote Democratic in the presidential primary.

In Santa Clara County, the trend resulted in a mad rush to photocopy and distribute about 6,000 ballots, while in Alameda County some polls stayed open two hours late.

Some precincts in Santa Clara County used their Chinese- or Tagalog-language ballots – which were printed in part in English – before resorting to the photocopied versions. Some poll workers encouraged voters to use the one touch-screen machine that was allowed in each precinct.

For most of the day, voting appeared to be going smoothly despite the county’s return to paper ballots made necessary by the secretary of state’s decertification of most touch-screen machines. Some precincts, however, reported waits as long as 45 minutes.