If you get 2 ballots, don't vote both, it's illegal

I received two ballots in the mail and so did my brother-in-law. I changed my name recently so I'm wondering if the elections officials don't keep track of the changes. My brother-in-law changed his address, so would that have anything to do with him receiving two ballots. Isn't there anybody checking this?

— Nancy A., Ashland

Sometimes people do receive two ballots, Nancy. In fact, it happens every election, according to Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker. With 122,000 ballots going out, the printer receives a list of names and addresses well in advance of being mailed out. As a result, all the information isn't necessarily up-to-date, particularly if a voter has made changes in the past month or so.

If two ballots are received, Walker said, you should use the one that has the most current information. "Never vote two ballots," said Walker. It is illegal, although she said they would not seek penalties unless they believed the double voting was fraudulent rather than merely confusion on the part of the voter.

Walker said each voter has a separate voter identification that stays the same even if the name or address changes. As a result, the voting machines will spit out the two ballots because of the discrepancy.

In addition, the Oregon Secretary of State's office sends out lists of duplicate names of voters to county clerk offices prior to the election. Walker said the safeguards help ensure that a voter doesn't have two votes counted.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

Share This Story