The Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Antonio Villaraigosa is reeling from the news of a widespread problem at about a third of polling places in L.A. County.
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Already lagging in the polls in the governor’s race, Antonio Villarigosa labeled as “unprecedented” the fact that a printing error caused 118,000 voter names to be omitted from voting rolls in Los Angeles County polling places today. He’s asking the county registrar and the California Secretary of State’s office to keep the polls open until Friday—although the registrar’s office declined, noting such a move would require a court order.
His campaign also called on Secretary of State Alex Padilla to investigate to snafu.
The problems hit Villaraigosa especially hard—rolling out in the heart of the former L.A. mayor’s base of support.
“It’s the United States of America, it’s Los Angeles County—the largest county in the state, you would think that they would be able to conduct an election without problems of this magnitude,” said Villaraigosa, appearing at his campaign’s election watch party in downtown Los Angeles.
Officials began to get reports throughout the day that voters showed up at their polling places, only to find their names were not on voters’ lists. Actor Henry Winkler, AKA “The Fonz,” tweeted that his name was among those omitted. A spokesperson in the registrar’s office acknowledged 2.3 percent of the county’s 5.1 million registered voters were missing from rolls at 35 percent of polling places. Voters could cast provisional ballots.
Villaraigosa said some voters were not allowed to cast provisional ballots, although the registrar’s office disputed that.
Despite the implications in a tight race, the candidate proclaimed himself “calm” and would not be drawn into speculation about why such a problem would occur in only one of the state’s counties.
“It’s going to be a long night,” he said. “Obviously, with the new development, it makes it longer.”