Los Angeles County election officials on Tuesday acknowledged sending vote-by-mail guides to as many as 1,100 Democrats that erroneously listed candidates for the 43rd Assembly District in the same space as votes for or against a controversial parcel tax.
The misprinted guides, sent to voters in the San Fernando Valley, indicate that choices for candidates in the June 8 runoff election for the vacant Assembly seat should be marked in positions already designated for the Los Angeles Unified School District's $92.5-million annual parcel tax initiative, said Marcia Ventura, a spokeswoman for the county Registrar-Recorder's office.
The Assembly district encompasses Glendale, Burbank and parts of Los Angeles. Ventura said it was not clear whether only Los Angeles Democratic voters received the misprinted ballots, though only district residents of that city would be able to vote for the parcel tax. She said she did not know exactly how many misprinted guides had been sent out, but said it could affect as many as 1,100 voters.
Voting guides for the statewide primary, also scheduled for June 8, are printed by party, and no separate guide was printed for the Assembly runoff.
Both the parcel tax and candidates Sunder Ramani and Mike Gatto are listed on the misprinted guides in positions 210 and 211 on vote-by-mail ballots, but those positions will be counted for the parcel tax, Ventura said.
Ramani, a Republican, was listed in the same position as a "yes" vote for ballot measure and Gatto, a Democrat, was listed in the same position as a "no" vote on the tax.
Votes for Ramani and Gatto will be counted from positions 236 and 237, respectively, on vote-by-mail ballots, she said.
County officials had previously attempted to correct the printing error on page 10 of some Democratic vote-by-mail guides, but some of the materials were still mistakenly sent to voters, Ventura said.
Election officials are sending new guides to affected voters and will allow them to cast new ballots if they have already mailed theirs in, Ventura said.
If voters choose to submit a second ballot, their first one will be voided, she added.
Gatto, the Democrat in the race, was concerned that confusion from affected voters could hurt his numbers when ballots are counted.
"This is never something you want to hear," he said.
Voters in the 43rd Assembly District will cast two votes for the same seat June 8 — one for the runoff election and another for a primary ahead of the Nov. 2 general election. Gatto and Ramani are candidates in both races.
"I consider [the misprint] just another layer of confusion to an already confusing election," he said. "We already have to tell voters that they have to vote for me twice in one day."
Gatto and his campaign workers discovered the mistake on a vote-by-mail guide Monday and began a frantic effort to gauge how many voters might be affected.
County officials were not aware of the error until they were alerted by campaign representatives, Ventura said.
Gatto won 68% of all Los Angeles precincts during a special primary election April 13.