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Measure W exclusion on ballot determined to be isolated incident

**UPDATED Tuesday, October 28 at 2 p.m.**

Claremont resident Maria Andrade received her vote-by-mail ballot from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder about a week ago with one glaring omission—Measure W.

She filled out the ballot and mailed it in, thinking she would receive a separate ballot to include Measure W, which is a city bond measure and will not be voted on by all county residents.

“I was hoping that the Registrar would address my concern quickly to send me something or to tell me what to do,” Ms. Andrade said.

After a call the LA County Registrar-Recorder, Ms. Andrade was told her mail-in vote would be cancelled then she was instructed to wait for a new ballot that will include Measure W and to re-vote.

Ms. Andrade’s husband, Sy Cohn, received his vote-by-mail ballot, which included Measure W, at the same address. However, the ballot of a third adult who also lives in the home—a 90-year-old with a last name beginning with Au—did not include Measure W.

“I called about that. It took a while to get through but I spoke to a woman named Wilma and she was very good; very prompt,” Mr. Cohn said. “I faxed her both the page that had W and the one that didn’t. She said she’s cancelling them and sending two proper booklets.”

Ms. Andrade and her housemate both received their new booklets today, Friday, October 24.

Further confusing matters, particularly for the elderly voter according to Ms. Andrade, is the second state water bond measure—California Proposition 1, which seeks to authorize $7.12 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, such as public water system improvements.

Ms. Andrade explained that her elderly housemate believed she had voted on Measure W when, in fact, she had voted on the state water bond.

“Mistakes like this are very confusing,” Ms. Andrade said. “Especially for elderly voters.”

Measure W, Claremont’s municipal water bond measure, seeks voter approval for the city of Claremont to secure up to $135 million in revenue bonds to purchase the city’s water system, which is currently owned and operated by Golden State Water.

Both Ms. Andrade and her housemate’s vote-by-mail ballots had the code “NLA 092” printed on the bottom. Her husband, whose ballot did include Measure W, had the code “NLA 084.”

“Other than that code, everything else is the same on the ballots,” Mr. Cohn said.

Claremonters registered to vote-by-mail should find Measure W on page 8 of their booklets, listed as “Claremont City Special Municipal Election” immediately below County Measure P.

Efrain Escobedo, government and legislative affairs manager for Los Angeles County, determined that the ballot issue was isolated to the two voters. According to Mr. Escobedo, the vote-by-mail balloting process is completely automated and that “smart cameras are watching the process.”

“This incident occurred because there was a jam and, when clearing it, county staff manually inserted ballots into these two envelopes,” Shelly Desautels, Claremont City Clerk said. “They used the incorrect ballot group to do so.”

The county said it will continue to monitor calls, but are confident this is the extent of the issue, according to Ms. Desautels.

For those who have already mailed-in their ballots and are unsure if Measure W was included, call the LA County Registrar Recorder at (562) 466-1323.

—Kathryn Dunn

editor@claremont-courier.com

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