Odessa Voters Given Two Complete Ballots 10/23/12
CBS 7 News
October 23, 2012
WEST TEXAS - As many west Texans head to the early voting polls, one man was given the opportunity to vote two complete ballots and today we found out that he wasn't alone. Kurt Verlai co-host of KCRS News Talk 550 “The Morning Drive,” was shocked when he had the chance to submit two ballots, turns out it was all a big mistake. For most voters, it's cut and dry, you belong to a specific precinct and you vote once. But for residents of one west Texas community, they belong to two precincts.
"The voters that live out in mission, they live in the City of Odessa so they an vote on the mayor race only, they have to go over to Midland County to vote on the state and federal election," said Mitzi Scheible, Ector County Elections Administrator.
Mission Dorado is in Midland County but in the City of Odessa, which had an election poll worker confused.
"In training, we went through it, I thought as thoroughly as I possible could," said Scheible.
But the confusion cause a close-call. One of those mission dorado voters is Kurt Verlai, who voted in Midland for all races as a county resident and then drove over to Ector County to vote as a resident of Odessa for the Mayoral race.
But when he got up to the polling booth, something unexpected happened.
"I really thought when I got under the machine that it was gonna call up only that one race but no, there was a whole ballot, I think I literally could have filled out another ballot, because I had to go all the way to the end to find that one race," said Kurt Verlai, Co-host News Talk 550 “The Morning Drive.”
Verlai only voted for Mayor but then notified elections officials of the issue.
"Unfortunately we had three individuals that received a full ballot," said Scheible.
Ector County Elections Administrator Mitzi Scheible says it was simply a misunderstanding that has been fixed, she confirms no voter has voted two complete ballots.
"It's very upsetting any time we hear this happening but at least they caught it before it went too far," said Scheible.
We also asked if Scheible if there was anyway to cancel the ballots and have the voters re-vote but she says the state considers the ballots valid and once they are submitted, there's no turning back.