Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

By Jim Sanders

Trivia quiz: What were the three most common election issues cited by the 1,900 callers to the secretary of state's statewide hotline during the first several hours of balloting today?

Answer: By far, callers had questions about the location of their polling place, whether they were registered to vote, or what to do with their vote-by-mail ballot, said Nicole Winger, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

There were no complaints of fraud, intimidation or other crime, and only a spattering of reports about a polling place that did not open exactly at 7 a.m., perhaps because an alarm clock malfunctioned, Winger said.

"The first two hours of election day, by all accounts, have gone very smoothly, Winger said shortly before 10 a.m.

She cautioned, however, that county registrars of voters also field calls about polling place problems, so the state would not necessarily be aware of every complaint fielded.

The secretary of state's hotline, for Californians who experience a problem casting their ballot, is (800) 345-VOTE.

In Sacramento County, long lines were not unusual the first two hours of balloting, with some polling places reporting up to 30 people waiting to vote, said Alice Jarboe, assistant registrar of voters.

Jarboe said long lines at peak periods are not unexpected, however, during presidential elections in a county of 700,000 voters.

No complaints of misbehavior at polling places had been received, she said.


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