ELECTIONS

Got multiple ballots? County clerks say your vote doesn’t count twice

Oct 21, 2020, 9:04 AM | Updated: Oct 29, 2020, 3:42 pm
multiple ballots tooele county...
A Tooele County man received multiple ballots when someone in the office of the county clerk merged two accounts with the same name. But Tooele County Clerk Marilyn Gillette says they check every signature to make sure each voter only gets one vote. Photo: Joseph Ross

TOOELE, Utah — A mistake from the Tooele County Clerk’s office resulted in a local man receiving multiple ballots, but the clerk says the chances of being able to vote twice are very slim. 

A similar situation happened in Davis County last week; a voter who changed parties wound up receiving two ballots as a result. 

In both cases, county clerks say you should contact them if you have any anomaly with your ballot.

“Anytime a voter has a question on their ballot, we strongly recommend giving us a call. Every situation is unique, every circumstance is unique, so if you have a question, give us a call. We have staff on hand that are happy to explain whatever may have happened or who can provide guidance and instructions,” Davis County Chief Deputy Clerk Brian McKenzie told KSL TV

Contact information for every county clerk in the state is available on the KSL NewsRadio 2020 Election Guide

Multiple ballots from a simple error

In the case of the Tooele County man, County Clerk Marilyn Gillette says an error occurred because two voters had the same first and last names, but different middle names. 

“Someone from my office, which means it’s my responsibility, went in, and because their first and last names were the same, they merged the two accounts,” Gillette said. “And so, they should have checked the birthdate, but they obviously didn’t.” 

Safeguards for voter fraud

Gillette says the person who received multiple ballots should mark one as “address incorrect” and return it to the county clerk’s office. But KSL asked her: what happens if someone gets multiple ballots and tries to vote twice? 

“We check every single signature, and if it does not match, we’re going to get ahold of the voter. So the chances of someone slipping one by are very, very slim,” Gillette said. 

Gillette said a voter attempting to vote twice would also face prosecution under Utah state law.  

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Got multiple ballots? County clerks say your vote doesn’t count twice