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Mail-in ballots returned to Dallas County voters on eve of primary election runoff

The U.S. Postal Service said it met with Dallas County Elections prior to the election and again last week on how to correct the problem

DALLAS — Dorit Suffness knows a lot about voting. 

Suffness has served as an election judge and now helps register voters at Dallas College Richland Campus.

That’s where a few voters told her recently that their mailed absentee ballots didn’t make it to Dallas County Elections Office but instead came back to them.

And then she checked her mailbox on Friday.

“What do I get in the mail, but my husband’s and my ballot,” Suffness said.

The manila envelope the couple sent off was back with no postmark and no explanation. On Monday, Suffness said she personally knew of at least three other voters this happened to but didn’t know how many absentee ballots were returned in a similar fashion.

“That’s what we’re trying to determine right now,” Suffness said.

The League of Women Voters of Dallas shared a bulletin on social media saying if your absentee ballot is returned, take it back to the post office and have them scan it again or hand deliver your ballot to the Dallas County Elections Office.

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Elections administrator Toni Pippins Poole did not respond to our calls, texts or emails Monday about the returned ballot issue, but the United States Postal Service did.

“We are aware that some ballots were returned to voters due to an addressing issue on the preprinted envelopes,” it told WFAA in a statement. “We reviewed this issue with the Dallas County Board of Elections prior to the election as well as last week, advising them how to correct the problem.”

This primary runoff is the first held during the pandemic with extra safety equipment and social distancing inside polling places, despite masks not being required of voters.

Suffness says that changed landscape will likely prevent her from serving as an election judge in the fall.  Now, she just wants her absentee ballot included for the primary runoff on Tuesday.

“I think it’s really critical that every ballot be counted,” Suffness said.

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