Getting through the ballot of the June 5 Statewide Primary may feel like maneuvering through a maze.
There are 27 candidates for governor and 32 candidates for United States senator, and that's not counting local contests, ballot measures and other races.
"This time we have two contests like that, where the number of candidates actually spills over into a second page of the ballot, so we are really emphasizing to remind voters they need to look at the whole list and be sure they're only making one selection in those contests," said Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder/County Clerk.
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If you make more than one selection, what's called an "overvote," or don't vote for any candidate, known as an "undervote," then that vote does not count.
The NBC 4 I-Team reviewed numbers from the California Secretary of State and found in the 2016 General Election there were 235,037 "vote by mail" ballots that were not counted statewide.
Officials for Los Angeles and Orange counties say the primary race for U.S. Senate that year had 34 candidates. Nine percent of votes were "under votes" in that race in Orange County, and there was a seven percent error rate in Los Angeles County.
"One of the things that we took away from 2016, where there were a lot of candidates for the U.S. Senate is to put different instructions on the ballot so the voter is directed to the columns," said Neal Kelley, Orange County Registrar of Voters. "Seems simple but we've tested it with voters and when they read it they're saying, 'OK, I understand this. I need to look at both columns before I make my choice and hopefully that will reduce any errors," he added.
ADVICE FOR VOTERS
- Read all instructions on the ballot;
- Take your time;
- If you make a mistake on mail-in ballot or at the polls, you can make corrections;
- Contact a poll worker or the Registrars offices if you have questions or concerns.
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