Election officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, estimate that up to 1,000 voters received an extra mail-in ballot.
Fairfax County Registrar Gary Scott said that some mailing labels on ballots were damaged and that the reprinting of the labels led to duplicate ballots being sent to voters.
“Before the supervisors caught it, the people applying the labels applied them to the entire sheet of labels rather than just pulling out the ones that should have been processed,” Scott told NBC Washington, adding that the error would not increase voter fraud.
“Because every ballot that’s returned, we make an entry into their voter record that they have returned a ballot. So if something else shows up, the ballot has already been returned. We can’t count that ballot.”
Dozens of states expanded access to absentee ballots amid the COVID-19 crisis. The 2020 election is expected to yield the greatest number of mail-in ballots in history. But the U.S. Postal Service has warned that ballots may not arrive in time to be counted and encouraged voters to return their ballots as soon as possible.
This is not the first example of errors stemming from mail-in voting. The Michigan secretary of state’s office listed Jeremy Cohen, the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee, as President Trump’s running mate.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced that it had found nine military ballots that were “discarded.” An initial statement from the DOJ said that all nine ballots were cast for President Trump but was later amended.
The president has been a critic of widespread mail-in voting. Both Trump and the first lady requested absentee ballots for the 2020 Florida primary and were criticized.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere defended the president’s position, arguing that Trump’s public comments on mail-in ballots are not incongruous with his private position.
“The president supports absentee voting, not universal mail-in voting, which contain several safeguards that prevent fraud and abuse.”
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