Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Missing L.A. County Voter Names Blamed on Software Bug
By City News Service
Published August 1, 2018

Software misconfigurations were identified as the cause of more than 118,000 people being omitted from printed voter rosters in Los Angeles County during the June 5 primary election, according to an outside review released today. 

The report from IBM Security Services also concluded the omissions were not the result of any cyberattack, and that there was no pattern of voters being excluded from the printed roster due to demographic characteristics or geographic boundaries. 

The Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk said roster problem ultimately affected approximately 12,000 voters who went to the polls and had to cast provisional ballots, which were processed and counted as part of the official election results. No voters were removed from voting rolls because of the roster error, and the right to vote was never at issue, the clerk’s office said. 


According to IBM, changes in the statewide voter database made it incompatible with the software the county uses to generate the printed lists for polling places, and the county’s Voter Information Management System application had not been updated to process the state’s format change, so the system generated voter records with empty spaces for the birthdates of 118,509 voters. Because the birthdates were missing, IBM said the county’s system incorrectly classified these voters as “underage” and left them off the printed precinct rosters. 

IBM also investigated a 21-minute outage of the county’ voter information website, LAVote.net, on the evening of the election after the polls had closed, and found no evidence of a cyberattack while attributing the outage to heavy demand on the website. 

IBM recommended that the county update the software code so the state and local voter databases are compatible; implement new quality control practices for Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk staff; resolve deficiencies in the system used to create the printed voter roster; and increase capacity and changing configurations on LAVote.net to accommodate periods of high demand. 

“While no voters were removed from the voting rolls, the June 5 election saw approximately 12,000 voters who had to cast provisional ballots, and an unknown number of voters who left their polling place frustrated,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said. “I take these matters very seriously. The Board of Supervisors will take any actions necessary to ensure that all registered voters in L.A. County can feel confident in the voting process. We will work expeditiously to consider and implement all recommended changes so that the County avoids this problem in the future.” 

Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said the county has already put in place measures to ensure that voter rosters are correctly printed for November’s general election. 

Categories: Local | News
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