County election officials are investigating a possible incidence of voter fraud after 83 mail-in ballots were delivered to one woman's two-bedroom apartment in San Pedro, and she didn't recognize any of the names.
Margot Valenti is a longtime San Pedro resident who said she already voted in this year's presidential election. So she was shocked and annoyed when the ballots were delivered to her apartment two weeks ago bearing her address but each with a different name, she said.
"I just took them downstairs," Valenti said. "I don’t want nothing to do with that."
She said she thought it could have been a scam.
Her neighbor Jerry Mosna discovered the two large stacks of unused ballots atop the apartment complex's shared mailbox, he said. He and his wife took the suspicious ballots to the police, who Mosna said told them to take them to the post office, to which they were returned.
Another resident at the complex, John Caracchiolo, was concerned the incident would not be investigated, so he contacted the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office.
"Honestly it’s not right and it’s corrupt," Caracchiolo said. "I just hope they straighten it out."
In a statement, the registrar's office said it is looking into the issue and believes it is likely a fluke clerical error.
"We are carefully reviewing our records and gathering information to fully identify what took place," the office wrote. "Our preliminary assessment is that this appears to be an isolated situation related to a system error that occurred causing duplicate ballots to be issued to an address entered for a single voter. We are working directly with the system vendor to ensure the issue is addressed and to identify any similar occurrences."
Further, U.S. Postal Service representative Brenda Duran said the agency "has indicated that they returned all of the improperly addressed ballots to our office."
National elections standards also dictate that all mailed ballots are checked against the signatures of the voter’s original registration prior to being processed and tabulated.
But all that doesn't completely reassure Mosna.
"A mistake for 80? That’s kind of a big mistake," he said. "A strange mistake."