West Linn voter gets 2 Oregon ballots

The Oregon Secretary of State has plans in place to check for duplicate ballots

Dwaine Rhea received 2 ballots in the mail for the November 2016 election, October 27, 2016 (KOIN)
Dwaine Rhea received 2 ballots in the mail for the November 2016 election, October 27, 2016 (KOIN)

WEST LINN, Ore. (KOIN) — Like voters all across Oregon, Dwaine Rhea got his election ballot in the mail. Unlike voters all across Oregon, he got 2 ballots.

One is addressed to “Jerry Dwaine Rhea,” and the other to “J. Dwaine Rhea,” both to the same address at his home in West Linn.

Rhea told KOIN 6 News he’s been a registered voter since 1998.

This West Linn voter received 2 ballots in the mail for the November 2016 election, October 27, 2016 (KOIN)
This West Linn voter received 2 ballots in the mail for the November 2016 election, October 27, 2016 (KOIN)

More than 230,000 Oregonians have been registered to vote through the Motor Voter law that took effect earlier this year.

Rhea was apparently registered again without his knowledge, causing the double ballot confusion.

“I am embarrassed if this is the best we can do in administering whether it’s that piece of legislation or anything else,” Rhea told KOIN 6 News. “We shouldn’t be, state house or court house, making mistakes with voter registration.”

Clackamas County Election Manager Steve Kindred told KOIN 6 News software is used to look for duplicates like this, based on birthdates and names.

But this one slipped through the system for 2 reasons:

> Rhea didn’t know he was being re-registered through Motor Voter. Kindred said anyone who did business with the DMV in 2014 and 2015 was automatically updated during that process.

> Somewhere along the line, a typo in his birth year caused each ballot to be mailed under 2 different birthdates.

Kindred told KOIN 6 News the records have been corrected and they thanked Rhea fro bringing the issue forward.

What you should do if you get double ballots

The Secretary of State has plans in place to protect the integrity of an individual’s vote if they get 2 ballots.

> If a voter mails in both ballots, the one with the updated registration is the one that will be counted
> If a voter mails in the first ballot, only non-partisan races will be tabulated
> If a voter mails in the second ballot, all selections will be counted. The first ballot is disregarded

County clerks across Oregon are prepared to handle these types of questions. The list of county clerks is listed here online.

Oregon mail-in ballots being processed (KOIN, file)
Oregon mail-in ballots being processed (KOIN, file)