L.A. Claims 27% Error Rate in Recall Signatures; < 1% Error Rate in Mail-in Ballots in 2020

Los Angeles County reported Monday that over 27% of the signatures submitted on petitions to recall District Attorney George Gascón were invalid — after reporting that less than 1% of mail-in ballots were invalid in the 2020 election.

The county reported that it rejected 195,783 of the 715,833 signatures submitted, roughly 27.3%. The reasons given included that some voters were found to be unregistered; incorrect addresses were given; or signatures did not match those on file.

However, in January 2021, the county reported that less than 1% of the 3,422,585 vote-by-mail ballots submitted were rejected. The test for the validity of ballots is similar to that of petitions, involving checking signatures and addresses.

Given that the State of California mailed ballots to every voter on the rolls, rather than just to those who had requested them as in years past, there was a high likelihood of error; some voters reported receiving multiple ballots, often for prior residents. (These problems persisted in the 2021 recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom, as personally witness by this author.)

Yet the county reported that 99.38% of vote-by-mail ballots were accepted in 2020. The number of vote-by-mail ballots that were rejected due to inaccurate signatures (12,135) in the election was close to the number rejected for that reason in the recall petitions (9,490), though the number of signatures to be examined in the election was roughly five times greater.

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