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“Flaws in the mail-in ballot system” led to at least 104 ballots from California’s March 5 primary though they were postmarked on or before Election Day, a Southern California congressmember said.

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, this week to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seeking answers as to why the ballots sent to voters from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties arrived too late, as .

“The fact that these voters were denied their ability to exercise their constitutional duty due to flaws in the mail-in ballot system is shocking,” Calvert, who represents parts of Riverside County, .

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, center, sent a letter to the postmaster general seeking answers about why at least 104 ballots from the March 5, 2024, primary in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties arrived too late to be counted. (File photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, center, sent a letter to the postmaster general seeking answers about why at least 104 ballots from the March 5, 2024, primary in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties arrived too late to be counted. (File photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“In American elections, it’s not hyperbole to say every vote matters — it’s a fundamental component of our democracy. There’s no question that the increased role of mail-in ballots has put the (U.S. Postal Service) in a more critical position in our election process. Americans must have confidence that the USPS is up to the task of supporting our democracy.”

Duke Gonzales, a postal service spokesperson, relayed a statement from postal service headquarters acknowledging receipt of Calvert’s May 6 letter.

“We will respond directly to the congressman,” the statement said.

Under California law, mail-in ballots are sent to every registered voter. Legally, ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by a county registrar of voters up to seven days after an election must be counted.

According to Riverside County, 31 mail-in ballots postmarked on time arrived eight days after the election or later. They included “a few military ballots,” Registrar of Voters Art Tinoco .

In Orange County, 70 postmarked-on-time ballots arrived too late to be counted, with 61 arriving March 13, three arriving March 14 and six arriving March 15, according to that county’s registrar.

In San Bernardino County, three ballots arrived between March 13 and March 15 that were postmarked on Election Day.

Elections officials said they didn’t know why the ballots arrived late. Gonzales previously referred to postal service statistics showing that 99.89% of 2020 ballots and 99.93% of 2022 ballots nationwide were delivered within seven days.

Like many in the Republican Party, Calvert has expressed concerns about mail-in ballots.

In March 2019, Calvert sent then-Riverside County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer a letter warning that — a term used derisively by conservatives to describe someone dropping off multiple ballots at once —  is “ripe for fraud” and posing a list of 27 questions about the practice, which is legal in California.

Despite conspiracy theories and continued doubts about the nation’s elections, multiple investigations at the state and national level have found on a scale that would change election results. Elections officials note that to verify voters’ eligibility and make sure they’re not voting twice in the same election.

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