California Secretary of State Office Admits Election Ballot Error for March Primary Impacting Senate Candidate Christina Pascucci’s Campaign  

January 27, 2024
Contact: Tara Finestone 
[email protected]

LOS ANGELES, CA –    The California Secretary of State’s Office has acknowledged that an “administrative error” led to the publication of an inaccurate Certified List of Candidates for statewide and federal races in California. Due to this mistake, all ballots for the March 5, 2024, Primary Election were printed with an incorrect ballot designation for Christina Pascucci, candidate for U.S. Senate Full Term and Partial/Unexpired Term. Instead of Pascucci’s correct ballot designation, “Local Television Journalist”, the document listed Pascucci as “No Ballot Designation”.

On Friday, January 26, The Secretary of State’s office issued a correction on their official website, via press release, and on the office’s social media platforms. The state agency said updated information will be listed on the Secretary of State’s website but will not appear on ballots or voter information guides, which have already been printed and mailed to voters.

“Free and fair elections are a pillar of democracy. Given the importance of the integrity of the electoral process, I greatly appreciate the Secretary taking the unprecedented step of re-releasing the certified list, but it’s unfortunate this mistake happened and then couldn’t be fixed before counties printed ballots,” said Pascucci. “While it’s difficult to quantify the impact that may have, I remain hopeful. Our message is resonating throughout the state because we’re speaking to the issues California families are most concerned about: rising crime, immigration, homelessness, and the skyrocketing cost of living.”

“State election authorities must avoid these kinds of mistakes. Such oversights can determine a candidate’s fate and significantly alter election results,” adds Daniel Schnur, USC Political Professor. “Given that many voters are already disillusioned with the political process, how can they trust that their votes matter when those responsible for conducting elections are prone to careless errors? In an era where our institutions face challenges to their credibility and election security, these errors only exacerbate the problem.”

Choosing a ballot designation is an important strategic decision for any candidate.  It has a significant impact on a campaign, as it may influence voters’ perceptions of the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and credibility.  

Steve Churchwell, a Sacramento election law attorney who represented Pascucci, commends the Secretary of State and her staff for acknowledging their oversight and committing to rectifying this error. “A candidate’s ballot designation is a critical piece of information for voters, and other than the candidate’s name, maybe the only information they see before casting their ballots,” said Churchwell. “The ballot designation process has a very short turnaround time, and ballots may already be printed before an error is discovered. The ballot designation rules and regulations can be confusing. We are willing to work with the Secretary of State after the election to improve this important process.”