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L.A. County registrar seeks independent review on thousands of people not listed on voter rosters

L.A. County registrar seeks independent review on thousands of people not listed on voter rosters
Voters cast ballots at El Mercado de Los Angeles polling station in Boyle Heights on Tuesday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County elections chief said Friday that he was seeking an independent review after more than 118,000 people were left off voter rosters this week.

State and county leaders had demanded answers after the massive error led to confusion and frustration at the polls. The foul-up affected roughly 2.3% of registered voters across the county and 35% of its polling places.

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Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan said it was “critical” to get an independent assessment of what had occurred.

He also said he couldn’t rule anything out, including hacking, to account for the missing names.

“There’s nothing to indicate initially that there was anything malicious,” Logan said. “But we need to exhaust everything.”

Offering more details about what happened, Logan said it appeared that corrupted data resulted in some voters’ names not being printed out on the rosters sent to polling places.

Election workers perform several checks, including making sure that the names printed on the rolls match those in the database, Logan said. “Obviously the quality control steps that are in place didn’t identify this issue, so we need to identify what was insufficient in this process,” he said.

According to election officials, the immediate priority is to speed up the processing of provisional ballots that were cast by voters who showed up at their polling places and discovered they were not listed on the roster.

Letters will be sent to voters telling them that their provisional ballots were counted, the office said, and some may also receive emails and robocalls.

Some voters described confusion at the polls Tuesday as workers grappled with the missing names: County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said that one of her aides had to ask five times for a provisional ballot before receiving one. Poll workers initially had told the woman to try voting at another precinct, Kuehl said.

Election officials pledged Friday to provide “a full report and accounting of the issue and corrective action as requested by the Board of Supervisors and the Secretary of State.”

On Thursday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a national nonprofit, also sent a letter to Logan expressing concerns about the missing names.

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The letter asked Logan to provide detailed information, including what poll workers were told prior to election day regarding use of provisional ballots, and whether the affected voters have been informed that their names have been restored to the rosters.

Logan said in a statement Friday that it was critical to get “a comprehensive analysis with reported findings, recommendations and evaluation to bolster the security protocols employed in future elections” and to provide a fuller explanation to elected officials and the public.

7 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan.

This article was originally published at 5:20 p.m.

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