Double absentee ballots accidentally sent to some Henrico voters

Updated: Sep. 22, 2020 at 6:02 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Employees in the Henrico County Registrar’s Office are working to notify roughly 100 voters after they were sent double absentee ballots.

Several voters contacted 12 On Your Side regarding the matter and airing concerns about the possibility of people trying to vote twice during this major election.

Mark Coakley, the General Registrar for Henrico, said a printing error is what led to those double ballots being mailed.

“We knew right when we mailed them out; when we saw labels in the garbage can, ones that were jammed and we said ‘oh, we reprinted these,’” he said.

More than 37,000 absentee ballots were requested for this election in Henrico. However, there was a slight hiccup when mailing these ballots to several dozen voters.

“When you receive a ballot in the mail it generates labels to track you and the ballot,” Coakley said. “The labels jammed in our copier, and when we reprinted them, it printed a small batch for the first time around.”

Some voters have already contacted the registrar’s office to notify them of the problem. Coakley added some have contacted political parties as well.

However, one voter said he is concerned about the possibility of voters trying to vote twice in this major election; something which Coakley said cannot happen.

“When the voter returns a ballot, we scan in that barcode with the voter’s name in there and it gives them credit so no one can double vote in Virginia,” he explained.

Coakley added they are working to notify those voters who received double ballots and advise these residents to shred the second one.

“Your ballot is only going to count once,” he said. “Whatever ballot you bring back, you can bring both ballots back and we will void and destroy the second ballot.”

Meanwhile, some voters also contacted 12 On Your Side about absentee ballot drop boxes.

In Henrico, those sites are at the government centers located at 3280 Nine Mile Road in the east end and 4301 E. Parham Road in the west end.

“Right now the drop box location is inside the office until we get a permanent one in place outdoors with video cameras for security,” Coakley said.

Voters also have the option of casting their absentee ballot in person, which started Sept. 18. So far, Coakley said in two days more than 3,000 people have voted in person.

You can also mail your ballot to the registrar’s office. Those envelopes would need to be post marked by 7 p.m. on Election Day on Nov. 3.

“In prior elections the most we’ve ever done in person and by mail after election day was 16,000 total voters, and their ballots counted,” Coakley said.

For a full list of deadlines in Henrico County, click here.

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