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Absentee ballots may be lost in the mail
Daily Republic. October 22, 2004. By Warren Lutz.

RIO VISTA Hundreds of absentee ballots destined for Rio Vista voters may have been lost in the mail, a Solano County Registrar of Voters official said Thursday.

"We sent a batch of permanent absentee ballots to folks in Rio Vista, put them in the mail on Oct. 6, and we've been getting calls that they haven't been coming in," Elections Manager Deborah Seiler said. "Effectively, they've been lost."

But as elections workers prepared replacement ballots, a Rio Vista postal official said she believed the original ballots are still on their way.

"I don't see they are missing," acting Postmaster Veronica Hale said. "I saw several absentee ballots that came through. I've had only four inquiries from customers so far, and I instructed them to call me when they receive theirs."

Hale said most mail that comes to the Rio Vista office is sent to an automating center in Oakland that sorts mail by route number.

City Clerk Margaret Roberts, whose office began receiving complaints this week, said local postal workers told her about 300 ballots were "misplaced" in Oakland.

Asked if she thought there was some mix-up involved, Hale said, "I don't think so." An absentee voter herself, Hale, who lives in Fairfield, said she just got her ballot Thursday.

"All I know is they were sent to Oakland to be automated," Hale said. "I don't think there's anything missing."

Voters from around the county have called claiming they've not received their ballots, Seiler said. However, a disproportionate number of calls from Rio Vista voters led her to believe there was a problem.

Rio Vista resident Bud Ponterio, who registered as a permanent absentee voter two years ago, said he still hasn't received his ballot.

"Up until now, I haven't been too concerned. I kept thinking any day now, it will come," Ponterio said. "Now I'm a little concerned."

New ballots are being sent to the City Clerk's office, where voters can pick up a replacement ballot beginning today.

Roberts hopes the snafu won't affect a close City Council race or two measures on city's ballot but also said it "could have a very negative impact."

The Rio Vista City Clerk's office is located at 1 Main Street in Rio Vista. Voters who wish to receive a replacement ballot by mail can call the Elections Department at 421-6675.

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