Berkeley candidates, voters upset with ballot snafu - KMOV.com

Berkeley candidates, voters upset with ballot snafu

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Many Berkeley political office candidates and voters were upset with the ballots not being properly prepared Tuesday. (Credit: KMOV) Many Berkeley political office candidates and voters were upset with the ballots not being properly prepared Tuesday. (Credit: KMOV)
BERKELEY (KMOV.com) -

North St. Louis County polling places turned away many voters Tuesday due to a ballot mix-up.

Some of the voters in Berkeley didn’t get to vote in the election at all.

Polling places ran out of one particular ballot by 9 a.m. and some who didn't get to vote said they were going out of town or to work and wouldn't get off till late -- so they missed their only chance to vote.

Frustrated candidates were asking how this kind of mistake could happen.

When the polling place inside the Berkeley Civic Center ran out of ballots for one of four wards shortly before 9 a.m., voters and candidates were shocked.

"That's ridiculous, it's unbelievable to me,” Berkeley mayoral candidate Babatunde Deinbo said. “Cause this is the first time this has happened in Berkeley."

According to election workers, when they opened up the box with the ballots to get set up Tuesday morning, they knew something was wrong. There was a large supply of ballots for two of the wards, but a small number of ballots for the other two wards.

"It's to my understanding there was about 45 ballots only sent to the city of Berkeley,” Berkeley mayoral candidate William Bayless said. “It's kind of odd when Ward 2 and Ward 4 is actually half of Berkeley."

By 10:30 a.m., the polling place had run out ballots for a second ward.

As candidates and their supporters milled around outside, they worried that some voters wouldn't get a second chance to go to the polls. Some had to go to work or might be physically unable to return later.

“There’s a lot of people that are elderly that are coming out here that can't make it hardly out here the first time, that's my thing," Berkeley City Council candidate  Tina Marie Hunt-Meeks said.

Shortly before 12 p.m., a representative from the election board office arrived with a resupply of ballots -- a full three hours after the polling place ran out of the first ballot type and notified election board officials.

"If the citizens cannot exercise that right, it's a travesty and election board is totally incompetent, incompetent," Berkeley City Council candidate Lou Mathison said.

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