A video of a voter showing a ballot and an envelope with holes went viral, with the woman warning others to be careful.
“This is the sketchy part. This is the crazy part,” the unidentified woman said in the video. “You have to pay attention to these two holes that are in the front of the envelope. 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.”
Former acting Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell shared the clip on Twitter, writing, “This is cheating.”
But the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk says that envelopes have had holes for years.
“The design of the ballot return envelope is not new and has been used for several election cycles—and the design is a recommended accessibility practice by civic design consultants,” a spokesperson for the office told The Epoch Times in an email, pointing to advice from the Center for Civic Design.
“The intent and purpose of the holes are two-fold: to assist with accessibility for low vision voters to locate where to sign the envelope and to ensure no ballots were missed and left in envelopes once our office has received and processed them,” the spokesperson added.
The office told concerned people on social media that the envelope design “does not interfere with postal or sorting equipment.” It declined to answer whether any problems have arisen in the past with the holes.
It’s not clear if other counties also use envelopes with holes.
Voters can choose how to return absentee ballots and can track their status on a website called Ballot Trax that’s operated by the California Secretary of State’s office.
Voters were urged by the Recall Gavin Newsom campaign to keep tabs on their ballot through the site after the video went viral.
Gov. Newsom, a Democrat, is facing a recall that could see him replaced by a Republican.
Voters who send in ballots or hit the polls on Sept. 14 can choose whether or not to recall the first-term governor. They can also select who would replace him if he is recalled. If a simple majority votes to recall Newsom, he would be replaced with the top vote-getter.
Grenell later responded to the Los Angeles clerk’s office.
“LA County admits that they’ve been doing this for years. Yes, we know,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s a huge problem that they don’t see. Being able to see if someone voted YES on the recall (in the largest county in the state) is scary.”