LA officials address mail-in ballot concerns after some decry holes found on envelopes

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The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk office quelled concerns that mail-in ballots for the upcoming recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom are vulnerable to fraud due to two holes on ballot envelopes that reportedly show whether a person voted to recall the governor. 

“This has been part of the envelope design for years. The holes serve both an accessibility purpose and a quality assurance purpose after the fact to validate no voted ballots are left unprocessed; an established, recommended practice,” the office said on Twitter Thursday. 

“The commonly used envelope design does not interfere with postal or sorting equipment.”

The tweets from the office came after some California voters voiced concern over the holes, with former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell posting about it on Twitter. 

“@GavinNewsom needs to be asked if his team did this on purpose. This is cheating,” Grenell said on Twitter Thursday, accompanied by a TikTok video of a woman voicing concerns over her mail-in ballot. 

“This is the sketchy part. This is the crazy part,” the woman says in the video, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. 

“You have to pay attention to these two holes that are in the front of the envelope,” she continues. “You can see if someone, from the outside of the mail-in ballot, you can see if somebody has voted yes to recall Newsom. This is very sketchy and irresponsible in my opinion, but this is asking for fraud.”

Newsom’s office and the LA county clerk office did not immediately respond to Fox News’s requests for comment. 

It is unclear if the holes are only found on ballot envelopes in Los Angeles County, as Fox News examined a recall ballot sent in San Luis Obispo County and did not see the same design. 

The managing editor of Red State, Jennifer Van Laar, also said that “One of my writers in LA County said their ballot isn’t like that.”

Grenell later responded to the county clerk office’s tweet, criticizing its voting rolls as “a mess.”

“Assurance that someone can see who voted YES to recall @GavinNewsom so someone can toss that ballot? And while I have you, stop sending ballots to dead people and non-residents of California. The County’s rolls are a mess. Clean them up,” he tweeted.

Newsom’s recall election will be held on Sept.14, and mail-in ballots for the election began shipping to voters this week. 

The recall came after Newsom faced sharp criticisms for his handling of the coronavirus, including last November when he was spotted dining in a high-end restaurant maskless and surrounded by people from outside of his own household. 

He has since been hit with accusations of “hypocrisy” from his challengers in the race, including apparent Republican front-runner Larry Elder. 

“He was sitting with the very same lobbyists and medical professionals who drafted the mandates they were violating by not wearing masks and by not socially distancing,” Elder said in July of Newsom’s dinner.

A poll published Sunday found that 52% of likely voters in the recall election said Newsom should not be ousted, while 48% called for him to be recalled.

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