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Mail-in ballots exceed early voting ballots cast in special El Paso City Council election

EL PASO, Texas -- Mail-in ballots for a special election to fill two seats on El Paso City Council are exceeding the number of early voting ballots cast by 64%.

That's something the El Paso County elections administrator admits she has never seen before. Lisa Wise also believes those mail-in ballots could decide the outcome of the Dec. 14 special election.

Even though the majority of the ballots cast in this election are mailed in, ABC-7 spoke to an early voter who prefers casting her ballot the old fashioned way.

Dora Hernandez just cast her ballot in an election which has only two items, the District 3 and 6 city council seats.

Wise believes more people are voting by mail-in rather than how Hernandez chose to vote, because this is an off-calendar election in December, when most are focusing on the holidays.

Of 980 votes cast so far, 629 were mail-in ballots.

"I prefer to go into the place to vote. To me its easier. Just drive by, I was here, so I voted here," said Hernandez of early voting at a polling location.

Wise said the majority of voters who ask for mail-in ballots are people over the age of 65.

ABC-7 asked Wise if mail-in ballots could open the door to fraud by someone, like a caretaker, forging the voter's signature.

"When those are returned, they're reviewed by two different boards, a signature verification and a ballot board opening. So there's a lot of steps that go through our ballot-by-mail process. It's not just going in, getting a flier, filling something out and sending it in," responded Wise.

She said the signature on the ballot is matched with the signiture first used when signing up for mail-in ballots.

Wise adds that elections workers check every other year to see if voters are either deceased, felons or want to be suspended from the mail-in ballot list.

Wise noted that if current trends continue, mail-in ballots could determine the outcome of the Dec. 14 election.

"I believe in an election that has such low turnout as this, yes it could be decided by a dozen votes, 20 votes, 30 votes," explained Wise.

Wise anticipates this election could cost city taxpayers as much as $200,000.

Early voting ends Dec. 10.

El Paso / News / Texas Politics / Top Stories / Video

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Might want to check those votes for fraud. Make sure “one person, one vote,” not “one person, multiple votes!” My statement has a precedence. Around 480 BC, Themistocles beat the Persians at Salamis. He became too popular and had political enemies, then was banished from Athens by “popular” vote. Archeologists have found the votes, many of them in the same hand!!

    1. WHY? THE MADMIKES AND GEEDUBB’S ARE SITTING AROUND AT HOME DOUBLE DIPPING. WIVES WORKING. (VERY CONSERVATIVE). MEANWHILE AMERICANS ARE BUSTING THEIR ASS. THE MOOCHERS(MADMIKE/GEE DUBBS) ARE ENJOING LIFE WHILE EVERYONE ELSE IS WORKING. CLASSIC AMERICAN MOOCHERS. MADMIKE AND GEE DUBB AND THEIR LOW IQ FOLLOWERS. UPPING THEIR DISABILITIES.

  2. Allow a paid day off at work for VOTING!!! Shutting booths at 5pm on voting day does not allow enough time for DEMOCRATIC voters to cast their votes on time. Presidential Day should be declared a day off for the American worker.

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