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Group Claims Nearly 400,000 California Ballots Sent To People Who Moved Out Of State Or Died

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Millions of California ballots have been delivered to residents across the state as early voting begins for the 2020 general election, but some have gone to people who should no longer be registered to vote in the state, one group claims.

A new study from the Election Integrity Project California has found that close to 400,000 ballots have been sent to people who moved or died.

"The fear is that people who are dishonest could vote those ballots and attempt to get them counted," said Evelyn Swenson, who works with the organization. "What kind of confidence to the people of California have in the system when they're getting ballots from their deceased loved one 10 years ago or someone who never lived there or someone who moved 10 years ago? That hurts the confidence in the election."

CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein connected with several people who said that they received ballots for people who haven't lived at their addresses for decades.

One ballot sent to Margaret Richards in Sherman Oaks, but moved to Tennessee 16 years ago. Richards said the fact that these ballots are being sent out worries her and makes her question the integrity of the election.

"It just is very unfortunate," she said. "Think about how many people who have moved, and the same thing is happening over and over. How do you trust the system?"

Richards isn't the only one. Monrovia resident Pam Harnden said she received ballots for the people who sold her her home 15 years ago. They now live in Texas.

"Whenever there's an election of some sort, I get all the paperwork," she said. "It's really a shame because it's, what, going on 15 years and they haven't taken these people off the voter rolls?"

The L.A. County Registrar said that "a voter record is made inactive only when mail sent to the voter is returned undeliverable from the post office or through notification of a change of address. If you get a ballot in the mail not addressed to you, mark it return to sender. Voter no longer lives there."

Harnden said she has done that every year, and she still receives them.

"Like a bad penny," she said.

To protect the integrity of ballots, the registrar's office said they are subject to signature verification and are checked statewide to see if someone may have voted twice. However, if someone voted in another state, it is more difficult to find out.

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