SAN BERNARDINO - County election officials say they "are generally pleased" by their performance Tuesday, finishing the preliminary results several hours ahead of 2008.

But the real verdict on their performance won't be available for another month or so.

That's when the mathematical projections of how many people were to show up at each polling location - on an hour-by-hour basis - can be evaluated, said Felisa Cardona, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.

Other factors will be looked at as well, she said.

The day was not without complaints however.

These included:

• Voters saying that there was no space on their ballot ballot for write-in candidates.

Vincent Dunbar, right, on Wednesday helps pack up materials left over from Election Day.
Vincent Dunbar, right, on Wednesday helps pack up materials left over from Election Day. (Gabriel Luis Acosta Staff Photographer)

Joshua Tree resident Joseph Zarki, for instance, wrote to Registrar of Voters Michael Scarpello that he was disappointed he and other Democrats couldn't put the name of a congressional candidate they supported because only Republican candidates Paul Cook and Gregg Imus were on the ballot.

"Not providing an opportunity for voters to vote for write-in candidates potentially disenfranchised thousands of voters who may have wanted to choose a write-in candidate," Zarki wrote in an email that he also sent to The Sun. "I found both of the Republican candidates unacceptable but was given no alternative to vote for anyone else given the way the ballot was designed and printed.


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But Proposition 14, the Top Two Primaries Act, makes writing in a candidate in the general election illegal, Cardona said.

The law, which took effect in April 2011, requires that all candidates run in a single primary open to all registered voters.

Then the top two vote-getters meet in a runoff, which is what happened Tuesday, Cardona said.

Unfortunately, the firm that printed the sample ballots mailed to registered voters, "did not realize the law had changed and left a spot for people to write in names," Cardona said.

• Some voters say that they were given a ballot inappropriate for their city.

Erin Brinker and her husband Tobin Brinker, a former San Bernardino councilman, live in San Bernardino but are assigned to a polling place at Cooley Ranch Elementary School in Colton.

Erin Brinker said their ballots included Colton City Council and city clerk races, for which they weren't eligible to vote, and told the poll worker they were given the wrong ballot. But the worker said those were the only ballots there, according to Brinker.

"What we did was vote and just leave the Colton ones blank," she said, then called officials to report the problem. "I don't know how many other people who don't live in Colton got those ballots and voted with them, though."

That problem was due to "poll worker error," Cardona said. Some polling places have more than one ballot, covering different city races. The idea is for poll workers to match the appropriate ballot with where the voter lives.

The Registrar's Office called this polling location's supervisor to explain this procedure after the complaint was made.

• Overcrowding in some polling places.

Others complained of long lines - more than two hours at some locations, poll workers said. Even President Barack Obama took a moment out of his acceptance speech Tuesday to say those waits needed fixing.

Using complex mathematical equations and evaluating their performance over the next month, San Bernardino County voting officials hope to make inroads in the way voters are assigned to specific precincts - with the end goal of reducing those lines, Cardona said.

In San Bernardino County - and across California - more and more voters are submitting their ballots ahead of time - thus avoiding the Election Day rush, Cardona said.

More than 10,000 voted in person in early voting centers in San Bernardino and Hesperia, she said.