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When some voters arrived at two early voting sites for the California recall election, they were told they had already voted. They were allowed to cast provisional ballots instead.
There is no evidence that the snafu occurred only among Republicans who tried to cast ballots.
A local TV news interview with one California voter led to a chorus of claims of a conspiracy against GOP voters in the Sept. 14 recall election for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
One misleading statement was this headline by the conservative Breitbart website:
"WATCH – California Recall: Polling Center Tells Some Republicans They ‘Already Voted.’"
"California viewers getting screwed again!" claimed an Instagram post by conservative commentator David Harris Jr., who has 1.4 million Instagram followers. His post included the local TV report.
"Why is it happening now in CA recall?" Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said in a tweet.
We have found no evidence of any rigging ahead of the Sept. 14 recall election.
The evidence is of a snafu at two polling places, which was remedied, during early voting — not of a problem that targeted GOP voters specifically.
KTLA-TV in Los Angeles reported on Sept. 11 that several voters said they believed "something wonky was going on" at the polling place at El Camino Real Charter High School, in the Los Angeles neighborhood Woodland Hills. When they went to cast a ballot, they were told that computers showed they had already voted. The school was open for early voting in the election.
One of the voters, Estelle Bender, appeared on camera. She said that when she told an election worker that she had not already voted in the recall, the worker told her: "This has been happening all morning."
Bender, who said she is a Republican, said she cast a provisional ballot but was "really angry." Asked by a reporter if that made her suspicious, she said: "I would think so, and still I would like to know how I voted."
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk told PolitiFact that the problems at that voting site and at a second site in Woodland Hills were "an isolated incident."
The office issued a statement in response to the TV report, saying voters were given provisional ballots, to ensure their votes would be counted. "Provisional ballots are regular ballots, and once the eligibility of the voter is verified, they are processed and counted." The statement also said that "the equipment at the locations was replaced and voting continued."
The conservative Newsmax interviewed a man who said that when he was told he had already voted, an election worker told him that was happening to about 70% of the people who tried to vote that day. That man did not identify his polling location, but the report said it was in Woodland Hills on Sept. 11.
Los Angeles County has one of the highest percentages of registered Democrats in California. As of Aug. 30, it ranked eighth among the counties, with more than 53% of registered voters registered as Democrats.
The Breitbart headline said, "Polling center tells some Republicans they ‘already voted’" in California recall election, suggesting that GOP voters were being targeted.
The evidence indicates not rigging, but an election error, which happened at two polling places and was remedied. It affected potentially any voter, not just Republicans. And people were allowed to vote by casting provisional ballots. Those ballots will be counted so long as the voter is eligible.
The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details. We rate it Half True.
Interview, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk spokesperson Mike Sanchez, Sept. 13, 2021
Email, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk spokesperson Mike Sanchez, Sept. 14, 2021
KTLA-TV, "San Fernando Valley residents have trouble casting recall ballots," Sept. 11, 2021
Breitbart, "WATCH – California Recall: Polling Center Tells Some Republicans They ‘Already Voted,’" Sept. 13, 2021
RedState, "CA RECALL: So It Begins: Woodland Hills Voters Report Trouble Casting Ballots," Sept. 12, 2021
Newsmax, "Some GOP Voters in California Recall Say Computer Showed They'd Already Voted," Sept. 13, 2021
Instagram, David Harris Jr. post, Sept. 13, 2021
Twitter, tweet, Sept. 12, 2021
Twitter, tweet, Sept. 13, 2021
Twitter, Marjorie Taylor Greene tweet, Sept. 12, 2021
Associated Press, "GOP pushes unfounded fraud claims before California recall," Sept. 14, 2021
New York Times, "False Election Claims in California Reveal a New Normal for G.O.P.," Sept. 13, 2021
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