Multiple Absentee Ballots Sent to Md. Voters

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012  |  Updated 6:40 PM EDT
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Tisha Thompson and the News4 I-team checks out reports of multiple ballots being sent to MD voters.

Tisha Thompson and the News4 I-team checks out reports of multiple ballots being sent to MD voters.

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The News4 I-Team is on Voter Patrol with a new ballot problem voters should watch out for - thousands of duplicate absentee ballots sent to Maryland voters.

Multiple viewers from Montgomery and Prince George's Counties told News4's Tisha Thompson that they've received more than one absentee ballot in the mail, leading to lots of worries and lots of questions.

That includes Bethesda’s Del Fitchett. On the same day he sent off his completed Maryland absentee ballot, he got another one in the mail.

"I don't think people should have more than one absentee ballot,” he tells us.

He says the two absentee ballots looked nearly identical except the second ballot arrived with a pink piece of paper which reads, in part, “This ballot is being reissued to you due to a postal coding error in the first mailing."

Fichett says, “It's really unclear the information that's been given out by the Board of Elections on whether my first vote is valid or not."

TELL US: Email voting issues to the News4 I-Team or call 202-885-4444.

Another couple called to tell us that they got four ballots between the two of them. And, of course the big question everyone has is: Is there potential for voter fraud?

Ross Goldstein with Maryland’s Board of Elections was quick to answer. “There should be no concern about double voting. We have procedures to catch that."

He says it all started when his staff caught an error on the barcode that appears above your address on the mailing envelope. “We were concerned the ballots were just taking too long to get to the voters so we reissued the ballots for all of those voters."

So far, the state says its sent out 10,000 duplicate ballots.

READ MORE: Yesterday's story about another issue with Md. absentee ballots.

If you haven’t voted yet, Goldstein says you can fill out either of the ballots, send it in and shred the other.

If you do send in two ballots, only one will count.

“On every ballot there is a barcode that's unique to that voter and we scan that into our system,” Goldstein explains. “So, we know if we get the same barcoded ballot back from the same voter. And we will only count one of those ballots from that voter." He says only the second ballot with the later date will count.

Goldstein says the Board of Elections has been in touch with the vendor who printed the ballots and is “confident the problem is under control.”

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