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At least two Spanish-language ballots were pre-marked for Barack Obama at a rural Oakdale precinct Tuesday morning, causing election officials to confiscate and inspect all the blank ballots.
“I consider this extremely serious,” said Lee Lundrigan, Stanislaus County clerk and registrar of voters. “We’ve sent an additional person to the precinct, and everyone is now watching each other.”
The incident happened about 9:20 a.m. at the River Oak Grace Community Church polling place on Rodden Road just north of Oakdale.
Hector Parra, who doesn’t speak English, was handed a Spanish-language ballot, which he took to the voting station. A moment later, he went to the precinct workers seeking help. Since there was no designated translator working at the time, the precinct’s staff asked if anyone in the crowded room could speak Spanish.
Sylvia Moreno volunteered to translate, and she said Parra didn’t understand why the ballot he was given had been marked.
“He was going to vote for Obama, but it was already filled in for Obama,” Moreno said. “He just wondered why.”
Moreno explained the problem to precinct workers, who then took Parra’s ballot and put it among the “spoiled” ballots. Parra then was handed a second Spanish-language ballot.
“It was marked for Obama, too. It truly was,” said Moreno, who witnessed the fresh ballot being handed from the precinct worker to Parra in the middle of the room.
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