Stolen ballots can't be used

Here is an interesting reversal of the debate over electronic ballots. Here, the electronic system had the better backup.

Paper ballots taken during a theft outside a Thermal polling precinct on the night of the Feb. 5 primary election were unused or spoiled and contained no votes that could be counted in Riverside County’s final tally, it was announced today.

The 119 ballots, stored in a ballot box, were snatched along with other property left in the back of a vehicle belonging to a poll worker at the Jerry Rummonds Memorial Youth Center in the 87000 block of Church Street, according to authorities.

The poll worker was preparing to take the items back to the Riverside County Registrar’s office in Riverside when two 19-year-olds jumped out of a car, grabbed the ballot box and some of the woman’s belongings, then sped off, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Assistant Registrar of Voters Doug Kinzle said officials initially believed the stolen ballots contained valid votes, but on later examination, nearly every paper ballot recovered was found to be blank, except for one that was physically damaged and couldn’t be read.

The thieves also snatched an electronic voting cartridge on which 16 votes had been cast via a Sequoia Edge touchscreen voting unit, and all the e-votes were later retrieved and recorded by the registrar’s office, Kinzle said.

More than 400 paper ballots were distributed to the polling station where the theft occurred, but because another, larger polling station was situated in the same location, the vast majority of voters registered in that area used the bigger facility, Kinzle said.