Ballot back in your mailbox? You’ve got plenty of company

Benny Westcott

Rochelle Smith of Sweet Home got some unexpected mail Monday, May 10.

“When I went to the Post Office today, I received at first what I thought was another voter ballot. But I began to look at it more, and I noticed on the back I had already signed it. It was the one I mailed in!” she said.

And Smith isn’t alone in experiencing her voting ballot being sent back to her.

She looked for an explanation at the Sweet Home Post Office and talked to a clerk behind the desk.

“He said there have been about 30 people already who have received their ballots back,” said Smith.

Smith said she was told that when her voting preferences arrived in Salem, her name and address, as well as a barcode, were mistakenly put on the back of the envelope next to where she had already signed it.

“He said something about them scanning that barcode, and it ends up sending it right back,” Smith said.

An employee at the Sweet Home Post Office, who asked not to be named, said if an envelope goes through a machine in Salem upside down or backwards, the machine ends up reading the address of the person who sent it in instead of the address of where it’s supposed to go.

Smith noted that the Post Office worker encouraged her to put it in a drop box instead of mailing it on the second go-around.

The employee, who told a reporter he has worked at the Post Office for over six years, said he hasn’t seen something like this happen before.

“Every once in a while you get something that’s misdirected by a machine, but I haven’t actually seen this happen like it is now, because it’s happened to quite a few people,” he said.

He suggested that anyone having the problem visit one of the drop sites in Sweet Home.

A 24-hour drop box is located at the Sweet Home Police Department, 1950 Main St.

Another drop-off location is inside City Hall, 3225 Main St., which is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.