PHOENIX — Voting questions from 12 News viewers often take the shape of a mystery.
An East Valley woman received two early ballots with two different addresses that were sent to the same home.
How did that happen and can she really cast two ballots?
The woman’s father, Oscar Agredano of Chandler, emailed 12 News with the question, in the hope that we could figure out what was going on.
When I spoke with him, Agredano told me the double ballot drop was alarming.
“In the back of my mind is, ‘Maybe somebody did this on purpose to increase chaos,’” he said.
“If it’s a mistake, an honest mistake - people make mistakes - I think this is a big mistake.”
Here’s what happened:
Oscar Agredano's daughter, Jennifer Agredano, got two ballot envelopes in the mail at their family home in Chandler. The green ballots inside the envelopes had different addresses - one for the Chandler home, the other for a Gilbert home, where Jennifer now lives with her husband.
Oscar Agredano hadn’t asked Jennifer about the ballots before we spoke Monday.
Here’s what I pieced together after talking to Jennifer myself, and with Jennifer consenting to Maricopa County officials’ looking up her registration records (which are public documents):
Why two addresses? Maricopa County's Elections Department confirmed that Jennifer changed her Chandler voting address on Sept. 22 to the Gilbert address.
The timing matters, because early ballots were printed two weeks before, on Sept. 8. That included Jennifer's first ballot, with a Chandler voting and mailing address.
So a second ballot for Jennifer with the Gilbert voting address had to be printed and mailed. It went to the Chandler mailing address, because that was never changed.
Advice for all voters: You have to change your voter registration address when you move. The Postal Service doesn’t forward election-related mail to a new address.
What to do with two ballots? Voters can and do request a replacement ballot if the original is damaged or lost.
A unique tracking number on ballots ensures the voter doesn’t cast two of them.
You can see the tracking number in boldface under the bar code on the ballot.
Look at the last two digits: “01” is the first early ballot sent by the county. “02” is the second early ballot Jennifer requested.
The county elections office will count only the second ballot - not the first.
If you have a voting or election-related question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find all of our elections coverage at 12News.com/PlanYourVote.