Controversy from Orange County Precinct’s 120 Percent Voter Turnout is “Misinformed”

Conservative and self-proclaimed “patriot” websites are spreading reports that in one Orange County voter precinct, more ballots were counted than there were registered voters, resulting in a whopping 120.6 percent turnout in the Nov. 6 midterm election.

You know, the election that resulted in all those red Republican-held congressional districts flipping so all of Orange County is now blue Democratic.

However, the Orange County Registrar of Voters has an explanation as to why these reports are “misinformed.”

The center of the controversy is precinct 38083 in Laguna Hills, where the polling place was Valencia Elementary School.

This was in Christina Laila’s post “Orange County Releases Official Vote Count and the Numbers Don’t Add Up – One Precinct Has 120% Turnout” in Gateway Pundit (“We report the truth–and leave the Russia-Collusion fairy tale to the Conspiracy media”):

Gateway Pundit

The Patriot Welcome (“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. GOD-GUN AND GUTS”) picked up the Gateway Pundit post and added this (complete with the ALL CAPS):

“AGAIN HERE YOU HAVE A DEMOCRATIC CONTROLLED STATE AND LOOK WHAT THEY DONE TO THE STATE, PEOPLE ARE LEAVING THE STATE BUY THE GROVES.
THAT SHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY”

(Those leaving the Orange County portion of the state must BUY THE GROVES elsewhere because theme parks, shopping malls and planned communities ripped out our namesake orange groves years ago.)

(I know, Funk and Wagnalls, they mean “by the droves.”)

S. Noble’s post “Russia’s Not the Biggest Threat to Our REPUBLIC, California is” on Independent Sentinel (“A government of laws, not of man”) features this: “Orange County released its official vote count on Monday [Dec. 3] and it doesn’t make sense. How realistic is it that every Democrat voted? In district 38083, 120.65% turned out to vote.”

Neal Kelley at work.

Figuring the district (actually, precinct) 38083 reports must be based on a misunderstanding, yours truly went to the Orange County Registrar of Voters website, pulled up the Nov. 6 midterm election by-precinct results and, sure enough, it shows the same numbers depicted in the Gateway Pundit screen grab.

However, surmising there must be a logical explanation for this, yours truly went to Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, who characterized posts such as those above as “misinformed.” He then shared the email he sent to the observers who were at his Santa Ana offices during the post-election day process:

While it’s expected that there will be social media activity related to the election, I thought I should address one misinformed post that seems to be circulating related to turnout in precinct 38083. Not sure of the origin, but the post references “highly unusual” turnout in this precinct of “120%”, etc., etc.

Although the author never inquired with us, there is a very simple explanation. As some of you know, hundreds of our polling places have multiple precincts, such is the case with 38083.

Precinct 38083 had 387 Election Day votes and the balance made up of vote-by-mail ballots cast in the precinct. It was combined with precinct 38317, which only had 60 Election Day votes (far lower).

Our county is one of only two in California that uses an electronic voting system in all of our polling places. This means that a volunteer poll worker operates a control box to issue an access code to each voter. In a polling place with combined precincts they must select a button with the voter’s assigned precinct number. In this case the poll worker, well intentioned, hit the right button some of the time but the wrong button most of the time. The ballot styles are the same, so nothing is different from a voting perspective, it’s just that the reporting data was put into the wrong reporting “bucket”.

The polling place roster confirms this review.

I realize that many of you have an understanding of how voting systems function and the mechanics of election administration, but clearly not everyone does. We do not intend to engage this online, but for what it’s worth, I wanted to make sure you all understood what occurred (and feel free to use the information at your discretion).

Thank you for your time and happy holidays.

Kelley’s explanation is confirmed by the MIT/Caltech voting integrity project’s election turnout forensics report, which includes this:

One outlier is precinct 38083, which is currently reporting 465 registered voters, 387 ballots cast, for a turnout of 83.23%. Precinct 38083 was at Valencia Elementary School in Laguna Hills, and was consolidated with precinct 38312. Precinct 38312 has 1086 registered voters, and is now reporting 484 ballots cast, for a turnout of 44.75%. It’s likely that due to the consolidation, some voters from precinct 38312 have been recorded as voting in precinct 38083.

By the way, how did those precinct 38083 voters actually vote? In races that pitted Republican candidates versus Democrats, the breakdown was:

298 to 258 in favor of Republican John Cox over Democrat Gavin Newsom for governor.

282 to 260 in favor of Republican Mark P. Meuser over Democrat Alex Padilla for secretary of state.

279 to 261 in favor of Republican Konstantinos Roditis over Democrat Betty T. Yee for controller.

293 to 250 in favor of Republican Greg Conlon over Democrat Fiona Ma for treasurer.

285 to 263 in favor of Republican Steven C. Bailey over Democrat Xavier Bacerra for attorney general.

293 to 241 in favor of Republican Joel Anderson over Democrat Mike Schaeffer for member of the State Board of Equalization, District 4.

304 to 197 in favor of Steve Poizner over Democrat Ricardo Lara for insurance commissioner.

I know, Poizner ran as an independent, but he sure was overly partisan at the 2008 GOP election night party in Irvine that was ruined by Barack Obama defeating John McCain for president.

Speaking of which, Neal Kelley, the Orange County Registrar of Voters, is a proud Republican himself.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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