California voter rush swamps staff

October 28, 2008 

Democracy has never been so popular, at least not in Sacramento County, where record numbers of voters have registered to make their voices heard next week in the presidential election.

While election officials are thrilled with the participation, the sheer volume of voter registrations and requests for absentee ballots is straining the system, leaving some would-be voters confused why they haven't yet received a ballot in the mail and wondering what to do come Election Day.

"The phones are ringing off the hook," said Whitney Huber, a Sacramento County election clerk. "It's slowing everything else."

Huber is one of four workers handling calls from people who say they haven't received their absentee ballots. Sacramento County has sent second ballots to almost 2,000 voters who say they didn't get the original ones, Huber said. The county has sent out almost 300,000 ballots total.

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