LA Officials Respond After 'Sketchy and Irresponsible' Detail on Mail-In Ballots for Newsom Recall Sparks Anger


Complaints from numerous voters that mail-in ballots for California’s upcoming recall election are vulnerable to fraud or damage have prompted a response from Los Angeles County election officials.

Voters are deciding whether Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will stay in office for the final year of his term. As with the 2020 election, every registered Californian has been mailed a ballot automatically for the Sept. 14 vote.

But the pre-punched holes on the return envelopes have led to concerns.

Some Twitter users questioned the security of the envelopes, while others said the placement of the holes reveals how one voted on the yes-or-no recall question, raising the possibility that ballots are vulnerable to malfeasance.

“The holes are just begging to get caught on postal equipment and tear the envelope. Omg I don’t even know what to say. Has any other county had this issue?” a woman asked Thursday.

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The tweet drew a response from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk account.

“This has been part of the envelope design for years,” the account said. “The holes serve both an accessibility purpose and a quality assurance purpose after the fact to validate no voted ballots are left unprocessed; an established, recommended practice.”

In a follow-up tweet, LA County officials assured: “The commonly used envelope design does not interfere with postal or sorting equipment.”

But the assurance is not likely to assuage fears for those who are concerned their ballots might not be counted should someone in the pro-Newsom camp come across them — thanks to those two holes. Depending on how the ballot is placed in the envelope, the holes can show whether one voted to recall the Democratic governor.

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A woman who posted about the issue on TikTok demonstrated exactly why those holes are such a problem. On her ballot, she colored in the circle to recall the governor.

When she closed her envelope, it was plainly visible how she voted.

“This is the sketchy part. This is the crazy part,” the woman said in the video.

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“You have to pay attention to these two holes that are in the front of the envelope,” she said. “You can see if someone, from the outside of the mail-in ballot, you can see if somebody has voted yes to recall Newsom.

“This is very sketchy and irresponsible in my opinion, but this is asking for fraud.”

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell shared the video online, commenting, “Gavin Newsom needs to be asked if his team did this on purpose. This is cheating.”

The LA County Registrar-Recorder Twitter account had not addressed the questions raised in that video by Friday afternoon.

Other issues have also been reported with mail-in ballots ahead of the special election.

KNBC-TV reported one Southern California woman signed up for text message updates about her ballot. The voter, Lisa Youngworth, explained how it has gone thus far.

“I got two texts. One in the morning saying my ballot has been received at the post office, and then I got one at night saying my ballot has been received and counted,” she told KNBC.

The only problem, Youngworth said, is that she had not yet voted. She told the outlet she now has less confidence in the electoral process.

Meanwhile, KNBC reported that one man in Riverside said he has received five ballots in the mail. Michael Sedillo said he received one ballot for himself and four others for people he had never heard of.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.