FILE - Mail-in ballot vote by mail

OROFINO - According to the Clearwater County Elections Office, on May 9 a complaint was filed with the Clearwater County Prosecuting Attorney by a concerned voter who had received two mail-ballot precinct ballot packets in their name at their residence.

Upon receiving notice from the Prosecuting Attorney, and following an immediate review of the situation, the Clearwater County Clerk's Office concluded that a total of 12 ballots in Precinct 10, a mail-ballot precinct, had been processed in duplicate as the result of a clerical error. "We were working with a new process to mail ballots to our 5 mail ballot precincts, and have identified the point in that process where this error occurred," says a statement from the Clearwater County Elections Office.

"The Clerk's office wants to reassure the public of the controls in place for the rare occasion when a situation like this occurs," said acting Clearwater County Clerk Amanda Brewer.

"First, outbound ballots are tracked through multiple ledgers and ultimately entered into the state voter registration management system, which alters a voter's status to reflect an outstanding issued ballot. At the time when this issue was reported by the voter, a review of this status had not yet been completed. It was this process that allowed us to identify that in fact 12 voters had been issued a duplicate outbound absentee ballot packet," the statement reads.

The office says when they receive ballots back from mail-ballot precinct voters, each is checked in and the voter's status updated from "Issued" to "Received". If a second ballot were received after that moment, it would be marked as spoiled and retained for review to determine if it was an illicit attempt at voting or simply a clerical error. All mail-ballot precinct ballots include a voter's signature on the envelope, which must be inspected against the signature of record for the ballot to be accepted.

"We at the Clearwater County Clerk's office understand the critical nature of election integrity, and regret this unfortunate clerical error, but believe that transparency in all things is important as we work to provide fair, honest elections for the people of Clearwater County," said Brewer.

Citizens who feel the error may have impacted them can contact the Clearwater County Clerk's office before May 17th.