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Double ballots confuse some absentee voters in SLO County

Bree Zender
Paso Robles Resident Judy Black holds her second ballot that she received in the mail. She recently changed her party affiliation, and the San Luis Obispo County Voting Office wanted to make sure she had a ballot to vote.

Some San Luis Obispo County residents who have recently changed their party affiliation have received two ballots in the mail.

Paso Robles resident Judy Black was originally a Republican, but said she decided to change her party affiliation to Independent before this particular election. She received a ballot in her mailbox in September. She filled it out, and mailed it back.

“On the 24th of October, I received another mail-in ballot," Black said.

Black was confused about this. She wasn’t sure if her first ballot had counted, so she headed to a polling place in Paso Robles this morning to clear it up.

San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said his office automatically sends these second ballots out intentionally after recent party affiliation, address, or name changes.

He said his office keeps track of the votes turned in by each person, and the first ballot submitted is the one that will be counted. They just send the second ballot to make sure every voter receives one.

Gong says if you’re sent a second ballot and you turn in both, don’t worry.

“No, they wouldn’t get in trouble for that. Because the system makes it so you send a second ballot to them," Gong said. "Only the first one will count."

Monterey and Santa Barbara County Voting Offices said this hasn’t been a problem for them.


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