Napa County voters may unwittingly nullify their choices for Unites States Senator on the June 5 ballot by casting more than one vote in the race, thanks to a crowded field of candidates, according to county registrar of voters John Tuteur.
"In response to a call from a voter, I want to clarify that the United States Senate race which has 23 candidates extends over two columns on Napa County ballots, columns two and three on the front of the ballot," Tuteur .
Tuteur's post continues,
The two column format was required by election rules concerning type size and the requirements of our voting system.
Also the voter-approved voter nominated primary system now places all candidates for Federal and State offices in a single contest rather than being divided by party. Only the Presidential contest is still on a partisan basis.
The bottom of the 2nd column which contains 19 of the candidates says "Candidates continued in the next column."
The heading of the third column carries the same language as the heading of the 2nd column "United States Senate - Vote for one."
Voters have not yet cast their ballot should be sure to VOTE FOR ONLY ONE CANDIDATE.
If a voter chooses one candidate in each column, that contest will not be counted because of an overvote.
All other votes cast in other contests will be counted.
Napa Patch blogger B.R. Silver was first to blow the whistle on the confusing Senate ballot, writing that
This message is particularly critical for voters intending to vote for a Republican candidate or for a Peace and Freedom Party candidate, because there are eleven Republican candidates listed in column two of the ballot and three Republican candidates listed in column three of the ballot.
Likewise, there is one candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party listed in column two of the ballot and one Peace and Freedom Party candidate listed in column three of the ballot.
This creates the problem that many Peace and Freedom Party advocates and many Republican advocates will vote for one in each column and thereby nullify their votes.
Democratic voters are less likely to fall victim to the confusion, Silver indicated, because there are no Democrats listed in the third column.
Ballots must be cast before 8 p.m. Tuesday. Mail voters who have not sent in their ballots may cast them at Tuteur's office, 900 Coombs St. in downtown Napa.