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Name, address mix-ups on mail-in ballots leave some L.A. County voters with few options

An unidentified system error is being blamed for mixing up the names and addresses on absentee ballots in Los Angeles County, leaving many voters with few options on election day.

After The Times reported on one voter who received a ballot addressed to the wrong person, more than a dozen other voters reached out to say they, too, got ballots at their correct addresses but with other people's names on them.

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Brenda Duran, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office, said they do not know how many voters had been affected.

"We're aware of it and working with voters on an individual basis to deliver replacement ballots," she said.

Anyone who received a mail-in ballot for another voter can go to a polling place Tuesday and vote provisionally, Duran said. But that solution works only for voters who are in town and local.

Jeff Sheng is getting his doctorate at Stanford University. He's a permanent absentee voter who had to make three requests before receiving a ballot. When it arrived, someone else's name was on the envelope.

"I wanted to vote in L.A. because that's pretty much my home, and there's a lot of propositions and measures that are very important to me as an L.A. County resident," Sheng said.

He considered making the six-hour drive from the Bay Area on Monday night so he could vote in person Tuesday.

"They're not supposed to make voting harder. I'm only voting once. I'm not committing voter fraud. I'm registered to vote," he said.

The mix-ups appeared to be limited to voters who applied for absentee ballots within the last two weeks. That's what happened to Learka Bosnak.

"I was worried about the lines at the polls, so I basically just wanted to have a ballot to drop off," she said. Instead, both she and her husband received ballots addressed to other voters. Bosnak posted pictures of the ballots on Facebook and Instagram, though she was reluctant to bring too much attention to the problem out of fear it would feed into the mistrust some voters have for the voting system.

"I believe very much in the process, and I believe in democracy," she said.

There are 2.27 million permanent absentee voters in Los Angeles County.

Twitter: @TheCityMaven

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