by Pam Zubeck
If you somehow wind up with two ballots, don't think you'll get two shots at, say, defeating Mitt Romney or supporting Amendment 64. The first ballot you cast will count, and you might get turned in to the District Attorney's Office if you try to cast the second one.
A couple of recent snafus are again putting the spotlight on such missteps. One local woman told the Gazette she received two ballots, and this morning a college student has also reported receiving two — one of which didn't include a county commissioner race.
"It doesn't happen that often," El Paso County Deputy Clerk and Recorder Alissa Vander Veen tells the Indy. "Because of the way things work, we've already pulled our files for our vendor of those we'll mail ballots to. If they [voters] make a change after that, they get a ballot for that, too."
In other words, if you changed your address, say, just before the end of voter registration, you might get one at both addresses. (The college student did this, changing her address from her parents' home — which may not have been in a contested commissioners' district — to a college dorm; she received both ballots at her college address.)
The other case resulted from the voter changing from permanent mail voter status to seeking a one-time absentee request, Vander Veen says.
But rest assured, there will be no rampant voter fraud taking place, she says, noting, "The system only allows us to accept one of those, so whichever one we receive first is the one we accept. If the second one comes in, it won't be accepted in the system, and those are the ones we send to the DA."
In 2010, 13 people voted two ballots by casting a mail-in ballot and a provisional ballot at the poll; 26 others turned in ballots signed by somebody else; and 81 had signature "discrepancies." All of the above were sent to the DA, who took no action on any of them, she says, other than writing letters warning against such practices. None of those ballots were counted, she says.
This year, the DA's office is working much closer with the Clerk and Recorder's Office, making a pass at least once a week to inspect questionable ballots, she says.
So those who rant over potential voter fraud can give it a rest, unless they want to have a heart attack over a quirk in the system that would allow one person to cast ballots in two different states. That's because there's no national voter registration system that allows states to match voter rolls against those of other states.
"If parents still get mail for their kids, they [kids] could get ballots there," Vander Veen says.