California County Mails 5,000 Duplicate Ballots

California’s Riverside County mailed 5,000 duplicate ballots to voters, it announced on Monday, but promised that none would be counted if residents try to vote twice.

Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer issued an apology to the county’s residents, saying that the duplicate ballots were mistakenly generated by a computer system error. The statement said the issue was identified over the weekend, but the ballots were already delivered by the Postal Service.

Spencer assured voters that “none of the duplicate ballots will result in a voter being able to cast more than one ballot.” She declared she takes the integrity of elections seriously and apologized for the mishap.

It was explained that each vote-by-mail envelope possesses a bar code, which is scanned as it is received at the Registrar of Voters office. The voter’s record is then secured so that only one ballot may be cast.

If a voter, she said, who received multiple ballots decided to cast both, only one of their choices would count. That would be the first ballot received, and any subsequent vote would be “automatically voided.”

The county urged voters who received multiple ballots to destroy the second one. The office said that it does not matter which is discarded since both are the same. They were instructed to submit only one before the election on Nov. 8.

Riverside County further assured residents that the computer system error was resolved and “procedures have been put into place” to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.

Before 2000, California voters who wanted to vote by mail had to request to do so. However, during the pandemic state officials started sending vote-by-mail ballots to everyone on the rolls.

There have been many reports of people receiving ballots for others who no longer live at the listed address or for voters who are deceased.

Voters in the state must sign their ballot envelopes when utilizing the vote-by-mail system, and those are to be compared to those on the voter rolls. California law, however, does not require an exact signature match.

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