Hours after the California midterm election results were released, Republican congressional candidate Tom Watson made allegations of voter fraud in Isla Vista.
According to a press release, Watson grew suspicious of the “unprecedented and unexplainable” number of provisional ballots used in I.V. polling locations. However, the UCSB Voter Registration Volunteer Coalition misplaced a box of registration forms a week before the Nov. 2 election, forcing many students to vote via provisional ballot.
Billie Alvarez, Registrar of Voters chief deputy, said this phenomenon is far from unusual.
“Provisional ballots aren’t uncommon at all,” Alvarez said. “Anytime a student wanders into the nearest polling office, it might not be the one they registered with.”
Furthermore, Watson’s press release said voters with provisional ballots were allowed to leave the building when voting.
On the other hand, Alvarez said Watson’s poll watchers probably mistook voter’s informational sheets for ballots while outside.
“They didn’t leave the polling place,” Alvarez said. “Some voters went to an enclosed patio area, but they definitely didn’t leave the building. When someone votes with a provisional ballot, they’re given a pink card that tells them their rights as a provisional voter. Those cards could have been misconstrued as ballots.”
However, a poll worker who wished to remain anonymous said that voters at the Santa Barbara Hillel did indeed opt to vote outside.
“Some people did leave the building to vote,” the worker said. “There wasn’t enough room inside.”
Additionally, the worker said, many suspect that registration forms which had been reportedly misplaced before the election were actually thrown out.
“One of the people I was working with [suspected] that people working at registration might see which political parties voters registered with and so ‘lose’ their ballots,” the poll worker said.
Watson’s office did not respond to Daily Nexus inquiries as of press time.