LA County Bubble-versity continues

The LA Times ran an editorial this morning regarding the “cross-over” or “decline-to-state” ballots in LA County that have not yet been tallied. One interesting thing was pointed out in the editorial:

Election officials are calling this a glitch, but the outcome was entirely foreseeable. In fact, it has happened before. In the March 2004 election, 44% of crossover ballots were unusable, and in June 2006, it was 42%. With numbers this high, the county registrar should have investigated this matter long before now.

Indeed, now that the complete magnitude of this problem is clear, and it is apparent that it just wasn’t just a glitch regarding the 2008 presidential primary in California, it’s time for the LA County primary election ballot for “decline-to-state” or “non-partisan” voters to be redesigned. Election officials will also need to revisit pollworker training, polling place procedures, and voter education programs to insure that problems like this don’t arise again in future California primary elections.

According to a story in the local papers (this was run in the Pasadena Star-News this morning), that’s what’s happening … They are working to redesign the ballot so that “decline-to-state” voters won’t have to ink that extra bubble to vote in a partisan primary:

For the 26 percent of non-partisan voters who did not fill in the party bubble, it’s impossible to know which side’s candidate they meant to choose, Logan said.

He said his office will redesign the ballot to eliminate the need for non-partisan voters to fill in a bubble specifying which party they were voting for.

Logan described this so-called “double bubble” as a “confusing layout of the ballot. He inherited the system when he came on board in January, and the double bubble had been used without controversy in three previous elections.

Also according to this same story, the LA County Board of Supervisors has asked Acting Registrar Dean Logan to see if there is a way to include the estimated 49,500 uncounted ballots from “decline-to-state” voters (or some fraction of them) in the final presidential primary voting tally. We’ll have to wait and see if that is feasible.