Many voters who had registered for the election Tuesday were not on the list of registered voters, a problem that also occurred on campus in 2008.
Those registered in Los Angeles County still were able to vote with a provisional ballot, but the problem was so prevalent that polls near USC had to get extra packets of provisional ballot envelopes.
The USC College Democrats had anticipated this problem after the 2008 election and contacted the L.A. County Registrar, which oversees voter registration and ballot counting, over the summer.
“We think that about 80 percent of the people who come here to vote are not going to be registered here, and that’s going to be hundreds throughout the day,” said Micah Scheindlin, political director for the College Democrats. “The registrar assured us this summer that they fixed most of those issues and that election day would go smoothly — clearly, that hasn’t been the case.”
The L.A. County Registrar said that the error was probably because voters sent in their registration too late for it to be included on the rolls.
“If it was close to that date, there would not be enough time to put their names on the roster. And that’s when the provisional voting comes in,” said Audara Rivera, an L.A. County Registrar election assistant. “If the registration got in too late, there’s no time to put their names.”
Provisional ballots are counted after regular ballots but must be included in official election results.
Scheindlin said that the majority of students registered by the College Democrats were not on the list.
The group plans to take this “to the highest places [it] can” to address the problem and has received calls from the Democratic National Committee and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Scheindlin said.
“This is the fault of the L.A. County Registrar in most cases, and those people are being asked to cast provisional ballots,” Scheindlin said. “We believe hundreds of students today, who were properly registered, will be forced to vote provisionally.”
David Mack, elections supervisor for the poll at USC Hillel, said that the overall turnout was higher than expected and that the station had significantly more provisional votes than normal.
Mack supervised the poll at Our Savior Catholic Center in 2008, when a similar problem occurred. Then, 290 of more than 900 votes were by provisional ballot.
This year, 399 of 500 ballots cast at the Marks Tower poll were provisional ballots.
Daniel Ghyczy, a freshman majoring in political science, voted in Marks Tower.
“I tried registering through my dorm — my R.A. went around with voter registration forms — but I tried registering before in the primary in my hometown. I wasn’t registered to vote like I thought I would be, so I voted provisionally,” Ghyczy said. “Now I have to check online to see if it counted.”
Jessyka Linton, a freshman majoring in political science, said that those registering her at USC didn’t explain what address she should use to register in California.
“I don’t feel like we got an appropriate education regarding the technicalities of voting. I wasn’t told that I should register my USC address, so I registered my home address, which wasn’t helpful for voting here,” Linton said.