Sample ballots and Voter Information Guides hit local mailboxes this week.


On Thursday afternoon, Arcata City Clerk Bridget Dory emailed the six candidates running for one (count it, ONE!) open seat on the Arcata City Council in the June primary.

“I don’t want you to be shocked when you look at your [Voter Information] Guide,” Dory warned them. “The County Elections Office called today to inform us of the error.”

Turns out, the sample ballots and voter information guides mailed out earlier this week erroneously instruct Arcata residents to “vote for no more than three” candidates for Arcata City Council. The guides should say, “vote for no more than one.”

Following the unexpected resignation of former Vice-Mayor Emily Grace Goldstein in February, the Arcata City Council voted to hold a special election on June 7, coinciding with California’s primary. As noted above, six candidates are running for just the one open seat. (Two more seats will be up for grabs in November.)

We reached out to Kelly Sanders, Humboldt County’s registrar of voters, who said her office apologizes for the mistake, and she told us that the error will not appear on ballots, which are set to be mailed out on Monday. 

Sanders had just come out of a meeting with staff to discuss how best to notify all 11,000-plus registered voters in Arcata about the error. 

“We’re thinking a postcard,” Sanders said. Her office plans to mail the cards to Arcata voters, informing them of the mistake on the sample ballots and telling them to just choose one candidate. Unfortunately, Sanders added, “They’re going to end up getting the ballot before they get the postcard from us.”

So take note, you early mail-in-ballot voters who live in Arcata. Read the instructions on the ballot and just choose your one favorite candidate. Still undecided? Well, the candidates statements in your information guide may help, along with our own LoCO Elections page, where candidates are answering questions from readers.