By Bay City News Service
State leaders in Sacramento have unearthed clues partly explaining why some voters in San Mateo County were left empty-handed in the June 8 primary elections.
A mishap with the distribution of voting materials from the California Secretary of State's office left some Peninsula voters without the state-produced official voter information guides.
During the week preceding the primary election, residents alerted the office of Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, of the oversight. His office tapped the Secretary of State's office to investigate the case of the missing guides.
On Friday, Mr. Hill announced that a letter he received from Secretary of State Debra Bowen that day indicated the blame lay with the firm contracted to mail the guides, Admail West.
Ms. Bowen's letter said managers of Admail West admitted their company "is responsible for duplicate and triplicate mailings" to households in some counties while simultaneously "failing to mail a single state voter guide to other households," according to Mr. Hill's office.
"There are many unanswered questions that still need to be resolved to ensure that this problem does not happen again," Mr. Hill said in a statement.
An elections official in San Mateo County said in June that resourceful voters kept abreast of ballot information despite the missing voter guides.
To safeguard against future mishaps, Mr. Hill introduced legislation on June 16 that would require election officials to notify voters receiving sample ballots that they can obtain information guides electronically from the Secretary of State's website.
Such notices would be required to include telephone numbers for county elections officials to allow voters to file requests for paper ballot pamphlets.
The bill, Assembly Bill 814, would also require that polling places stock ballot pamphlets.
The state Senate has yet to approve the bill, which could cross Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk later this month.