Thousands of San Luis Obispo County residents accidentally received two voting ballots for the upcoming March 3 primary election. Out of the 140,000 residents currently registered to vote in San Luis Obispo county, 2,666 duplicate ballots were sent out to voters, including Cal Poly students. 

San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said each voter ballot has a unique barcode to it, and each voter who received a second ballot received an exact duplicate of the first. 

“Our vendor is sending out postcards,” Gong said. “They sent them out on Saturday [Feb. 15], to the voters who received duplicate ballots, informing them of the mistake that was made and instructing them to only vote one ballot, then destroy the other.”

In the event that a voter tries to illegally vote twice and send in both ballots, a machine will allow the first ballot to go through and then set aside the second ballot, according to Gong. 

Gong said he could not explain why the ballot duplicate situation occurred, but he said the reason behind the accidental duplicate ballots originated from the county’s vendor, ProVote Solutions. ProVote Solutions provides California counties with government-secured print manufacturing for elections. This is the first year the San Luis Obispo County is using ProVote Solutions’ services for election ballots. 

A sample of the postcard that people who were sent two ballots received. Tommy Gong | Courtesy

Psychology junior Lexi Kraft said she was among the San Luis Obispo county residents to receive a duplicate ballot in the mail. After registering to vote in the San Luis Obispo County two weeks ago, Kraft received her first ballot in the mail one week later. Days after receiving the first ballot, Kraft received an identical second ballot. 

“I’m glad I haven’t filled out my ballot yet and that I received the postcard informing me of the situation, but I’m still worried that another mishap might happen and that my vote won’t count in the end, even if I send the correct ballot back,” Kraft said. 

Although the county plans on working with ProVote Solutions in the future, the oversight is very preventable from happening again, Gong said. 

“I certainly plan to work with [ProVote] to find out what checks and balances can be put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future,” Gong said.

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