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ELECTION: Wrong names on mail-in ballot envelopes for Nueces County couple

A Nueces County couple received the right ballots, but the return envelopes had both the wrong name and wrong address.

NUECES COUNTY, Texas — A Nueces County couple had a problem with their mail-in ballots that led to an in-home visit from county elections officials to fix the problem. 

Frank and Paula Armstrong say their ballots were correct, but the return envelopes had the wrong names and wrong addresses. Both of their individual return envelopes were incorrect. Frank spotted the error before they mailed them.

"I happened just to look over on the left side and notice that the return address was from another individual," Frank Armstrong told 3NEWS.

Paula Armstrong said they alerted the Nueces County Elections Department Monday and heard back after 3NEWS inquired about the mistake.

"I'm just concerned that older people won't realize, won't look at the return address and that they might, their vote might not count, I don't know," Paula said.

The Office of the Texas Secretary of State says they train county elections officials on what to do if ballot corrections like this are needed. Nueces County elections officials went to the Armstrongs' home to collect the wrong envelopes and give them a correct carrier envelope if they still wanted to send their mail-in ballot. The Armstrongs say they now plan to vote in person.

"We're both capable of going to vote, you know, we just have to rearrange our schedule a little bit," Paula said. "But not everyone can do that."

Frank and Paula vote every year and say nothing like this has happened before. And they hope it is an isolated problem. They also hope Nueces County informs the people whose names were incorrectly on those return envelopes about the mistake.

"The concern is where are these persons' ballots?" Frank said. "What happened to them?"

Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands was out of town visiting family Monday. In a statement she said:

This is a very serious incident that my office is investigating. This apparently has occurred equally amongst Republican, Democratic and Independent voters. If any person finds that their carrier envelope is incorrect, please contact our office immediately at 361-888-0655 and we will deliver you a corrected envelope. We have already delivered corrected envelopes to the ones who have been reported. Any qualified voter that chooses to vote by mail will not be disenfranchised and will be able to vote in this election. I believe the right to vote is sacred and I will continue to protect the integrity of the election and the rights of Nueces County citizens to cast their ballot.
I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused any voters. This will not happen again.

Sands added she does plan to speak in more detail about the error on Tuesday.

The Texas Secretary of State's Office said mistakes happen every election, including a recent error in El Paso County, which had to reissue corrected ballots.

They also say the sooner your county knows about any errors, the quicker it can address it, so be sure to notify them as soon as possible. In Nueces County, the elections department phone number is 361-888-0655.

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