Just two states fared worse than California in the Pew Charitable Trusts Election Performance Index. California was criticized for, among other things, a high number of unreturned mail ballots and a high reliance on provisional ballots.
Shannon Velayas is with the Secretary of State’s office, which rejects the study’s findings.
“This study is baffling," she says. "California is penalized for things like rooting out fraud and offering voters the option to vote provisionally. These are things that, in California, we’re pretty proud of.”
Velayas says the study puts too much negative emphasis on the use of provisional ballots.
"In fact, California gets penalized twice," she says, "for the one voter who requests a vote by mail ballot and doesn’t turn it in and then goes on to vote provisionally.”
Velayas says the provisional ballot option acts as a safety mechanism for voters, ensuring they will be able to vote even if something goes wrong with their original ballot.