Errors Lead Some Dallas County Voters To Question Election Offices Ability To Handle Mail Ballots

Voters say elections office has sent conflicting instructions, dismissed their concerns. They fear “unforced errors” could fuel those who attack the election’s integrity.

By James Barragán, Dallas Morning News; radio story produced by Jill AmentOctober 7, 2020 12:18 pm, , , ,

From The Dallas Morning News:

After mail ballot problems in the July runoffs resulted in confusion and uncounted votes, the Dallas County elections office said it would fix the issues for the November presidential elections.

The problem, officials found, was the placement of a barcode with a voter’s address on the return envelope, which resulted in the U.S. Postal Service’s mail sorter sending the ballots back to the voter’s home instead of the elections office.

After discussions with the Postal Service, the county spent $52,000 to redesign the envelopes and avoid the issue in the November elections.

But the problem wasn’t fixed.

In September, Don Fortenberry dropped off his mail ballot for the November elections at a post office in North Dallas. Two days later, it was back in his mailbox.

“I was not very happy,” said Fortenberry, an election judge. “Supposedly, this problem had been fixed. With what’s going on, with [President Donald] Trump going to dispute the election, it just sort of really pissed me off that our elections department and/or the post office can’t do something this simple.”

The returned ballots are one of several issues plaguing the Dallas County elections department. In August, Brylon Franklin, the official in charge of mail voting, resigned after superiors launched an investigation into unprofessional behavior. Last week, the department sent voters conflicting instructions about how to deliver their mail ballots in person.

And this week, unsolicited mail ballots started showing up in Dallas County mailboxes.

Read the rest of the story here, in The Dallas Morning News, and listen to reporter James Barragán’s conversation with Texas Standard in the audio player above.

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