The State Worker: CalPERS mail glitch may disenfranchise 25,000 in board election

jortiz@sacbee.comSeptember 24, 2013 

CalPERS Board of Administration elections approaches, officials with the fund have discovered that about 25,000 members could be disenfranchised.

The reasons: The affected members have no mailing address on file with the fund, combined with a mailing programming mistake.

In past elections, CalPERS published packets for members without an address and sent the materials to employers who would then then forward the the ballots to employees. But this year that didn't happen. Testing over the last few days revealed a mail programming mistake excluded members' names without addresses.

"It was human error," CalPERS spokesman Robert Glazier said.

CalPERS is prepared to immediately Fed Ex ballots to eligible members who call (916) 795-3952 or (800) 794-2297 through Thursday. Ballots also can be picked up at the fund's downtown Sacramento headquarters at 400 Q St.

Historically, between 14 percent and 15 percent of eligible members -- about 1.2 million this year -- vote in CalPERS' board elections, Glazier said. As of last Friday, CalPERS had received 124,011 ballots.

Voters will decide two races on the 13-member board. One contest pits incumbent J.J. Jelincic against three challengers: Andrew Hopkins, Lorenzo Rios and Kumar Sah. In the second, Harvey Robinson is opposing incumbent Michael Bilbrey.

Terms for both positions run from Jan. 16, 2014, through Jan. 15, 2018.

Ballots must be postmarked by Friday or returned to CalPERS' offices by close of business that same day.

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