Bay Area man describes struggle with USPS 'glitch,' casts vote months later

If it weren't for a new statewide online voting tool, his ballot may never have made it.
SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area man made several attempts through the United States Postal Service to get his mail-in ballot forwarded to Illinois. Yet, he has yet to see it.

If it weren't for a new statewide online voting tool, his ballot may never have made it.

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"My concern was...am I going to get my bills and my ballot?" said Jim Fiene, who lives in San Mateo County.

Fiene is temporarily caring for his father who's battling stage 4 metastatic lung cancer. USPS confirmed his mail would be forwarded to his new address. On Oct. 2, the San Mateo County Elections Division notified him his ballot was sent. But, he never got it.

"They sent me another ballot on Oct. 15," he said. "I never received that one either."

Fiene received a letter from USPS. The postmaster in Illinois told him there is a backlog of mail at the Evans Ave. post office location in San Francisco - referring to it as a "flag in the system."

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"He was telling me...something in their internal system wasn't forwarding my mail properly and that still isn't resolved," he said. "I've only received 13 pieces of mail since I've been here."

ABC7 reached out to USPS for comment and the agency didn't clarify if there was a flag or a glitch in their system but did send us this statement:

"Ballots typically cannot be forwarded if the intended recipient's address is out of date or if the mail piece is not properly addressed. In such instances, the ballots will be undeliverable." -USPS

Yet, the agency confirmed to Fiene his address was accurate. But, his ballot never came.

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The state legislature approved a new program this year to help out-of-state voters fill out their ballot online by signing up with their local county election's office.

"Go to our website, sign up, and they'll receive a link to their ballot," said Mark Church, San Mateo County Assessor-Clerk & Recorder. "They can mark their ballot on any computer, print it, and then return it to us by mail."

3,400 of the 5,000 out-of-state voters have returned their ballot so far in San Mateo County.

According to Church, 289,146 ballots have been returned to voting centers across the county. That's double what was reported at this time in 2016. Current registration is at 443,355 voters.

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