News & Politics

California Republican Voters Told 'You've Already Voted' Even When They Haven't

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Some things in California never change—accusations of election fraud, for example.

On Saturday, poll workers informed 88-year-old Republican voter Estelle Bender. that she had already cast her ballot. The problem was, she knew she hadn’t.

“I went to El Camino High School to vote,” Bender told KTLA5 reporter Chris Wolfe. When Bender gave a recall election poll worker her ballot information to scan, she told Bender the computer said she’d already voted. “I said, ‘no, I haven’t,’ and she said, ‘This has been happening all morning.'”

Clearly, Bender wasn’t the only concerned voter who was informed she’d already voted. “The man next to me was arguing the same thing,” said Bender. “So I got the provisional ballot and I was really angry.”

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Bender saw two other voters she knew and told the young women, “Don’t be surprised if they tell you you’ve already voted.” She then asked the women, “Are you by any chance Republicans?” They were. “So am I,” she said, “and so are my friends who had the [same] problem at the VFW” polling place, which is enough to make Bender suspicious.

“If I voted, how did I vote,” asked Bender implying she’d like to know for which candidate her vote was cast.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder issued a statement to KTLA5 on the San Fernando Valley ballot problems:

“The voters who experienced this issue were offered and provided a provisional ballot — the failsafe option to ensure no one is turned away from voting. Provisional ballots are regular ballots and once the eligibility of the voter is verified, they are processed and counted.

After troubleshooting the issue, the equipment at the locations was replaced and voting continued.”

As Wolfe said, these ballot issues can certainly leave voters feeling “extremely concerned, suspicious, and wanting answers,” but they also beg some questions: How many voters got frustrated and gave up voting altogether? How many of these incorrect ballots were already counted in the recall election? Why are these issues still occurring, even after L.A. County’s disastrous 2020 primary and countless assurances they’ve been fixed?

L.A. County voters who experience problems at the polls can call the Registrar’s Voter Fraud Hotline at 800-815-2666, but recall election candidate Larry Elder is so concerned with voter fraud that he has a form on his campaign website allowing voters to easily report it.

All California voters have through September 14 to get their recall ballots mailed and postmarked or returned to any official drop box or voting location. Polls close at 8:00 p.m. PST.