TOOELE — Some Tooele County mailboxes have been receiving multiple ballots, causing confusion and some concern of the potential of casting two votes.
Tooele County officials say the duplicated ballots are an unexpected hiccup in the county's first all by-mail election, but are assuring voters any duplicate ballots won't be counted twice.
Tooele County Clerk/Auditor Marilyn Gillette said Monday her office has received a "surprising" amount of returned ballots during this year's first countywide vote-by-mail election.
She said ballots have been bouncing back to the clerk's office if voters' registrations aren't up-to-date or if they move and don't change their addresses.
"We've been shocked by the number of ballots we've got back," she said, noting that her office will send out another ballot to the new address in an attempt to ensure voters get a ballot.
"I'd rather they get two, three, or four just as long as they get to vote," Gillette said.
However, sometimes the first ballot with the wrong address will still make its way to the correct mailbox if the post office reroutes it, which is why some voters are getting duplicates, Gillette said.
The clerk said her office is aware of the issue and have made efforts to inform voters of what to do with duplicate ballots. Her office's phone has an automatic recording telling voters to destroy the second ballot if they have already cast their votes. Gillette also posted about the issue on her Facebook page.
Gillette said the issue could be avoided altogether if voters ensure their registration is up-to-date every year.
It's against state law to cast more than one ballot, Gillette noted, but she said if it's a widespread issue her office likely won't fault voters for inadvertently casting two ballots. However, Gillette still urged voters to destroy any duplicates they receive.
If a voter does cast a second ballot, Gillette said her system will not allow it to be scanned and will only allow the first ballot returned to count. However, she still urges voters to avoid sending in a second ballot.1 comment on this story
On top of a handful of statewide ballot initiatives, proposed constitutional amendments, and legislative races, Tooele County voters can also weigh in on whether to change their county's form of government from a three-member commission to a part-time, five-member council with a county manager.
Tooele County voters will also weigh in on whether to impose a 0.25 percent sales tax hike to fund public transit.
More information about Tooele County's election can be found at www.co.tooele.ut.us.
Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 5, the day before Election Day. If voters miss that deadline, they can still drop it off on Election Day at their county clerk's office, polling location, or ballot drop box.