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Duplicate ballots mailed after third-party vendor error

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Several Bastrop County voters who applied to cast their ballot for the primary election by mail received multiple ballots in their mailboxes due to an error by an outside company.

On Thursday, Bastrop County elections administrator Kristin Miles sent out a letter explaining the problem: it came to her attention that the third-party vendor that processes and mails the ballots made a “significant error.” As a result, several voters received multiple ballots.

There is no way for this error to allow for voter fraud, Miles’ letter also said; the county’s tracking process for ballots will not process more than one ballot per voter. Once a ballot is cast, received and logged at the county elections department, any other ballots submitted by that voter would be null and void.

During Monday’s regular meeting, Miles updated the Bastrop County Commissioners’ Court about the situation.

Miles told the court that the third-party vendor processes two batches of the mail-in ballots. The first batch was mailed to the voters three times, while the second batch took three weeks to reach voters.

She also said since February, the county elections department has processed 183 ballot-by-mail applications in-office and will continue to process the remaining ballots.

“Needless to say, we’re no longer using said vendor,” she said.

Miles asks mail-in voters to either destroy their extra ballots or return them to the county elections department office.

She added that the same vendor serves many other government entities across Texas and experienced errors state-wide.

“It’s a little comforting to know that we’re not the only ones,” County Judge Paul Pape said to Miles. “Thank you for handling this the way you have and being upfront with voters about it.”

Early voting continues

Miles also gave a report on early voting so far. As of Saturday, 1,730 Republican and 937 Democrat ballots had been cast for a total of 2,667 early voters. Miles said this early voting turnout is a little higher but fairly similar to past elections.

Early voting for the primary election continues throughout this week, ending on Friday, February 28. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3.

The early voting polling locations available throughout the county are:

  • Bastrop County Courthouse Annex, 804 Pecan Street
  • Smithville City Hall, 317 Main Street
  • Cedar Creek United Methodist Church, 5630 FM 535
  • Elgin Public Library, 404 North Main Street

Early voting is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day this week at the Bastrop location. The other locations are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the first part of the week but will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. All polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day; at this time, voters must cast their ballots at their designated polling locations.

For sample ballots and to find your precinct and Election Day polling location, visit

Races contested in primary elections

In addition to state and national elections, a number of county positions are on the ballot for this primary election.

Incumbent Maurice Cook (R) and Mike Renck (D) are running unopposed in the Republican and Democratic primaries for sheriff.

Ellen Owens (R) is running unopposed for tax assessor-collector.

Incumbent Mel Hamner (R) is running unopposed for Precinct 1 commissioner.

Incumbent Donna Snowden (R) is facing Paul Mogonye (R) in the Republican primary for Precinct 4 commissioner. Cheryl Renee Reese is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Incumbents Wayne Wood (R), August “Gus” Meduna (D) and Tim Sparkman (R) are running unopposed for Precinct 1, 2 and 3 constables.

Incumbent Paula Fenske Birran (R) is facing Joey Dzienowski (R) for Precinct 4 constable.

Steve Chamberlain is running unopposed for county Democratic party chair.

Incumbent Dianna Greenwood is facing Mike Gepner for county Republican chair.