Some voters in Fairfax County, Virginia, who requested mail-in ballots received double ballots.
Election officials think up to 1,000 voters may have received two ballots.
Maurisa Potts and her husband requested mail-in absentee ballots for the first time this year.
“When I got the mail, we got four ballots — two for me, addressed to me, and two addressed to my husband, so for someone who is a first timer doing mail-in I was confused,” she said.
All mail-in ballots must be hand labeled, but when some of the labels were damaged, an entire sheet had to be reprinted, and some voters were sent a second ballot.
“Before the supervisors caught it, the people applying the labels applied them to the entire sheet of labels rather than just pulling out the ones that should have been processed,” Fairfax County Registrar Gary Scott said.
Potts worries about the impact of the mistake on voter confidence, especially as President Donald Trump continues to slam main-in ballots.
“With this year, with people are concerned about election fraud and being fair and counting ballots, this is an issue,” she said.
Election officials say voters who got double ballots should fill one out and destroy the other. The registrar says this is not a situation that can lead to voter fraud.
“Because every ballot that’s returned, we make an entry into their voter record that they have returned a ballot,” Scott said. “So if something else shows up, the ballot has already been returned. We can’t count that ballot.”
There is also a lot of voter confusion across the Northern Virginia about whether a witness must sign the mail-in ballot.
Even though the signature line is still on the ballot envelope, a court ruled because of COVID-19 concerns, it is not required this year. Written instructions tell voters that if they do not feel safe getting a witness, they can submit the ballot without one and it will not be held against them.
If voters are worried about sending ballots back in the mail, they go to Fairfax County Government Center and put them in a drop box.
Fairfax County will be adding 14 other drop box locations in mid-October, and the boxes will be staffed at all times.
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