Decision 2020

Bay Area Voters Receive Multiple Ballots, Fuel Concern Over November Election

Another issue that has surfaced is voters receiving a ballot in the mail belonging to someone else

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California made the unprecedented decision this year to mail a ballot to every active registered voter. Election officials in response are trying to walk voters through any issues they encounter.

The state is warning local election offices to be ready -- and even expect -- potential problems at polling places. California officials specifically note for local election offices to be on the lookout for attempts at voter intimidation or disruption at the polls.

But in the Bay Area, some voters are encountering different issues in regards to mail-in ballots as they inch closer to Election Day.

"I received two ballots with my name, but different versions," said Jeffrey De Ponte, a Castro Valley resident and registered voter in Alameda County. "One had my middle name and no space in my last name. And then one had no middle name with a space in my last name."

De Ponte is not alone. NBC Bay Area has received a handful of similar reports.

"The voter likely re-registered and used a different variation of their name than their original registration," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement to NBC Bay Area. "The county office can take a look at the voter rolls and merge/update any necessary records."

But De Ponte said the ballots he received in the mail have different barcodes, leading to concerns that someone could vote twice.

NBC Bay Area on Friday had not received a response after reaching out to both the Secretary of State's Office and the Alameda County Registrar of Voters for information on what crosschecks they have in place to prevent people from voting twice in the election.

Other registrars said there are multiple measures in place to prevent a double vote.

De Ponte does not believe every registered voter should automatically get a ballot in the mail.

"The system we have now where you can ask for a mi-in ballot makes sense because you ask for it, they send it to you," he said. "But to just send out ballots to everyone, especially in the middle of a pandemic where people have moved, people have lost their houses, (and) people are in different locations."

Another issue that has surfaced is voters receiving a ballot in the mail that belongs to someone else, usually someone who had moved.

The Secretary of State's Office said in this case, residents should "mark the ballot envelop as return to sender/voter no longer lives there and put it back in the mail to the county elections office. This will notify the county elections official to deactivate the previous registration."

Some, including the president, have said they worry about voter fraud.

But it is important to mention NBC News' fact check unit, among others, as well as the FBI have repeatedly said while there isolated cases in every election, there has never been evidence of any widespread voter fraud.

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