Registrar Responds: Peace and Freedom Party Members Get Non Partisan Ballots

By Judith Scherr
Friday June 06, 2008 - 04:19:00 PM

A number of Peace and Freedom Party members were given “non partisan” rather than Peace and Freedom Party ballots on Tuesday in Alameda County, registrar Dave Macdonald acknowledged Thursday in an interview with the Daily Planet. 

He explained that there are two lists that poll workers use, a “roster index”—a master list—and a street-level list. Peace and Freedom Party members were identified on the street-level list as “non partisan,” which means they would be given general ballots, allowing them to vote only on state-wide propositions. 

Macdonald said the problem was due to “our printer that made a mistake.” 

Similar problems were noted in San Francisco and Los Angeles counties. 

Macdonald said that if voters challenged their status, poll workers were trained to give them a provisional ballot on which they could vote as Peace and Freedom Party members. 

“If there’s any concern at all, people are allowed to vote provisionally,” he said, adding, “I feel confident that our poll workers did it right.” 

Moreover, Macdonald said that as soon as the county office was alerted to the problem “we notified the coordinators to make sure [poll workers] were not using the street index” to determine which ballot a voter should receive. 

In an interview with the Planet on Wednesday, however, Debra Reiger, chair of the Peace and Freedom Party, said that only “some people knew to persist” and got the proper ballots. An unknown number mistakenly voted non partisan. That was particularly significant because voting for the party’s central committee was on the ballot—and the central committee determines delegates to the convention in August where the party will nominate a presidential candidate. 

Supervisor Keith Carson, who said had no knowledge of the specific problem, told the Planet Thursday that the supervisors had been “outspoken on everybody’s right to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”  

He added that there is a committee of citizens who looks into such matters, called the Election Advisory Committee. The committee is staffed by Guy Ashley of the registrar’s office. Ashley can be reached at 510-272-6961. 

There are just under 3,000 persons in Alameda County registered as Peace and Freedom members, according to Macdonald.