Tax measure mix-up in voter packet |

Tax measure mix-up in voter packet

Supporters of sales tax measures for local road repairs hope their months of campaigning have not been undone by a mistake in the voter information packet.

Nevada City residents were mailed information packets that had a sales tax expenditure plan for Grass Valley’s Measure T mistakenly appearing along with other information about Nevada City’s Measure S.

Grass Valley voters who should have received the expenditure plan for Measure T instead received nothing about their sales tax plan in the packets, according to County Clerk-Recorder Kathleen Smith.

“It looks like Measure S is going to fund Dorsey Drive (in Grass Valley),” Don Baumgart, co-chairman of the Citizens Committee to Fix Our Streets, said about the mistake. He considers the switched expenditure plan a “body blow” to the campaign.

Designated for specific purposes, both measures require two-thirds voter approval to pass. These are among the most hotly debated local issues in the Nov. 7 election. Absentee ballots already have been mailed out in Nevada City, which has a high percentage of absentee voters.

“I have never seen anything like this happen before,” said Paul Matson, also co-chair of the committee, about the wrong spending plan appearing next to the proposed ordinance and the argument for Measure S. (No one submitted an argument against Measure S.) “This is a huge mistake.”

Smith said she and the vendor, Martin and Chapman, “both accept responsibility” for the “miscommunication.” She said the Elections Office has “all sorts of proofing processes.”

“As we speak, people are voting,” Matson said of potential negative impact of the mistake and need for quick correction.

“I’m sorry, but it happens,” Smith said, quickly adding her office “will do whatever it takes to make it right.”

Smith issued a press release titled “Public Service Announcement” late Tuesday admitting to her office’s mistake in mailing “incorrect information” to voters. Smith was elected to her post on June 6.

Mailers will be sent to Nevada City residents today (Wednesday) with instructions to disregard the expenditure plan previously listed, and giving them the correct expenditure plan for Measure S.

Residents can also go to City Hall, a Web site at, or call Matson (265-5610) to get the expenditure plan.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Grass Valley City Administrator Gene Haroldsen said Wednesday. Grass Valley’s voter packet did not have incorrect information but, rather, was missing information about the sales tax.

“A supplemental voter information pamphlet will be mailed to City of Grass Valley voters containing the information inadvertently left out of the pamphlet,” Smith said.


To reach staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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