Some Lawrence Area Voters Mistakenly Received 2 Ballots

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Some voters in the Lawrence area mistakenly received two ballots for the upcoming election because of a mix-up that officials are blaming on a third-party printing and mailing company.

But Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said Wednesday that the mistake would not affect the operation of November’s local elections, The Lawrence Journal-World reports.

“I’m extremely confident,” Shew told the Journal-World. “Even if they receive two and return two, once the first one gets logged, there is no way for us to log the second one.”

In Kansas, voters don't receive a ballot by mail unless specifically requesting it for a particular election. On the day that the error occurred, the printer had received 1,200 names of advance voters. The printing company started processing the list twice, but then recognized its error before the entire batch was double-mailed.

But Shew said it was difficult to determine how much of the list had been double-mailed, so he decided to notify all 1,200 voters who were part of that day’s list.

Every voter on the list received a postcard from the Douglas County Clerk’s Office explaining that they may have received two ballots and instructing them to destroy one of the ballots. Shew also reached out via a phone message and email message to every voter on the list who had provided his office with that contact information.

The ballot mix-up comes at a time when there is a national debate between Democrats and Republicans about how much vote-by-mail elections should be expanded. Opponents of expansion have expressed concern that mailed ballots are too susceptible to errors, while supporters argue the evidence does not back up concerns of voter fraud involving mail ballots.

“I’m not pleased this happened,” said Shew, who is an elected official and runs as a Democrat. “But we are able to say there are processes in place to stop (fraud) from happening.”