King County sends thousands of duplicate ballots

King County sends out tens of thousands of duplicate ballots every election and election officials say that, for the most part, there are good reasons why.

Robert Richardson told KIRO-7's Gary Horcher he got two ballots within days of each other.

"Last Friday, the 18th, I received my second ballot in the mail. I'd already received the first one.," Richardson said.

King County Elections Chief of Staff Kendall Hodson said today, "We send out tens of thousands of second ballot to voters every single election. We recognize it can be a little alarming."

In fact, Hodson said, the county sent out 30,000 duplicate ballots this election, mostly because voters changed their addresses at the last minute.

"You're now eligible to vote on different races and ballot measures because you've moved, so we want those ballots to go out to those voters," she said.

Richardson upgraded to an enhanced driver's license just a few days before ballots were put in the mail.

Elections officials believe that's what triggered his second ballot.

"With our new voter registration system, some of the things that used to be automatic are no longer automatic. Our staff now have to check an extra box to make sure that, if it's just your license number that got updated, you don't receive a second ballot. Humans are human and, every once in a while, they forget to check that box," said Hodson.

Hodson assures the public that no one can vote twice.

"Anytime a voter sends a ballot to us for that record, when we scan, it is telling our system do not accept any more ballots from this voter. So, we will never accept more than one ballot," she said.

The 30,000 duplicate ballots cost $15,000 in postage. Hodson said there are last-minute address updates made in the week before the ballots go in the mail.

"So, we actually stop many, many second ballots from going out before that even happens," she said.

Hodson said that voters who have questions or who have not yet received their ballots should call King County Elections at 206-296-8683.

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