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Camp County to reprint voter ballots - again

By by Peggy Jones pljones@news-journal.com
Oct. 23, 2012 at 1:50 a.m.


The general election was thrown into a tailspin in Camp County on Monday - the opening day of early voting - when, after more than 200 people had cast ballots, election administrators were notified of an error on the ballot.

Libertarian candidate Sherri Little, running for Place 9 on the State Board of Education against Republican incumbent Thomas Ratliff, was listed on the Camp County ballot as a Democrat.

Elaine Young, Camp County clerk, said Little notified her office of the mistake about 2 p.m. At that time, around 253 people had already cast ballots in what Young characterized as "very brisk" voter turnout.

As soon as Young was notified of the mistake, she said the county stopped using the ballots, notified the Secretary of State's Office and the printer.

"We made emergency ballots," Young said, explaining that her staff took a ballot, took the number off of it; corrected Little's party, duplicated that corrected ballot on the copy machine then put a whole new set of numbers on those ballots.

"Which is what the Secretary of State's Office told us to do," she said.

It was the second time the Camp County ballots had to be reprinted for the Nov. 6 election, Young said.

The first batch of ballots, received on Oct. 9, had to be reprinted because U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, was left off the ballot.

"So when these came in on Oct. 16, we all checked to see if that was correct - and it was. But we missed this other mistake," Young said.

Young said the printer is printing new ballots and her office is waiting for further direction from the Secretary of State's Office about what to do with the ballots cast before the mistake was reported.

Young, Camp County Clerk since 1989, said, "this is the first time anything like his has happened."

Ratliff said late Monday he was unaware of the Camp County ballot blunder.

"If they've rectified the situation I will leave it up to them to fix the problem," Ratliff said. "I'm not too upset about it."

The 2011 legislature re-unified Northeast Texas into District 9 - which sprawls from Sherman to Paris and Texarkana; south to Lufkin and Athens.

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