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Local voters receive multiple vote-by-mail ballots

Posted at 10:51 PM, Oct 15, 2018

Several Central Coast voters received more than one election ballot in the mail.

The San Luis Obispo County Clerk’s Office said if people recently changed their names, tried to register or re-register to vote, they might get more than one vote-by-mail ballot. The mishap is common but voters still only get one chance to vote.

Casey Kay, an Orcutt voter, recently changed her name after getting married. She said she found two ballots in her mailbox, one with her old name and one with her current legal one.

Kay said she worried it would be easier for people to commit voter fraud if they receive more than one ballot.

“It means nothing to me I’m just going to shred up mine and throw it in the garbage, but not everybody else is going to do the same thing,” said Kay.

According to the Santa Barbara County Registrar of Voters, staff only count one ballot per person. If they receive two ballots, they will void one of them.

Tommy Gong, the SLO County Clerk Recorder said the same process happens in SLO County thanks to a unique bar code.

“Even for the same voter, it will be a different bar code,” said Gong. “So therefore it allows us to be able to track if it was a first issue or second issue for a voter and therefore we can prevent the second ballot from going through the system.”

If you do receive two ballots, clerk staff said you can turn in either ballot, whether it’s with a current or old name, and it will still be valid.

“If it was the second ballot that the system is expected back, but we received the first ballot, as long as we didn’t receive the second ballot we will reinstate the first ballot,”​ said Gong.

Sending in two ballots can also come with consequences. County clerk staff said if voters send in more than one ballot, whether on purpose or by accident, they will turn the case over to the district attorney to investigate.

It is a felony to vote twice.