Vendor mistake causes mail-in ballot confusion


A printing mistake by ballot venders is causing confusion for some voters in Gonzales County.

Mail-in ballots including a federal race for U.S. Representative, Dsitrict 27 which was misprinted have been mailed out to county residents who are over the age of 65 or have otherwise requested mail-in ballots. A second round of correctly printed ballots has been mailed out and marked with a red “LA” stamp. These ballots are also accompanied by a notice from the County Clerk's Office explaining what happened and how to proceed for voters. 

Molly Weathers, a retired teacher who lives in Gonzales, said she and several friends were worried when they received their second ballots.

“I’m just concerned that if I choose not to mail this ballot, I don’t think they’ll count the first ballot, or someone will challenge it because there’s an error,” Weathers said. “What’s gonna happen is there’s gonna be lots of ballots thrown out.”

County Clerk Lona Ackman said voters should still fill out the second ballot and either mail it or drop it off in person at the Clerk’s Office. The correct ballots were reprinted and mailed overnight at no cost to the Clerk’s Office.

“The good thing is they owned up to it and said, ‘Hey, we're gonna reprint these and overnight them, rush them to you,’” Ackman said. “So they sent us the new ballots. And then we stayed late to get them out to everyone.”

Only some of the original ballots were mailed before the Clerk’s Office was made aware, and so not every person will get one. The bulk of the original ballots which have not been mailed are set to be shredded in the presence of the Sheriff.  

If a voter has already filled out the original ballot and mailed it, and does not want to fill out the second ballot, the original ballot will be honored. However, their vote will not be counted for the race for United States Representative, District 27, as that is the section that was misprinted. All other sections will be counted in the election.

If a voter chooses to fill out and mail the second ballot, the first will be held by the Clerk’s Office and shredded after the second ballot is received. Ballots cannot be returned to the voter after they are received by the Clerk's Office. 

Mailing both ballots does not constitute election fraud, according to Ackman.