Friendswood woman shares warning after clerk's office sends her sample ballot by mistake

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- Some Galveston County voters who opted for mail-in ballots may want to keep a close eye on their mailbox after a mix-up happened to one woman.

Sharon Collison, who has lived in Friendswood for 14 years, said this was the first time she applied to vote by mail, and she paid close attention considering the battle over mail-in ballots.

It was a good thing she checked.

Collison told ABC13 she received a sample ballot instead of the mail-in ballot.

"I was leery about it for sure, so that's why I was really double checking what this ballot said, and when it said 'sample ballot,' I knew that wasn't going to cut it," she said.

Sure enough, the words "sample ballot" were clearly written at the top of the form, which was also enclosed in an official election mail envelope.

Collison said she received the envelope three or four days ago, but didn't open it until Tuesday, ironically, the first day of early voting in Texas.

"There was no ballot inside, only a sample. And when I contacted the clerk's office, she said, 'I realize what happened. They printed up the wrong ballot. They printed up a sample ballot instead of the real ballot," Collison explained.

Collison said the clerk's office had initiated the process to send out a new ballot and was told it went out Tuesday.

Still, the fact that she received the sample ballot troubled her.

"That upsets me because I'm thinking there are going to be other people that don't realize it's a sample ballot, and then they're going to send it in, and then their vote's not going to count because it's not a real ballot," Collison said.

She was also concerned because she wasn't sure if the clerk's office realized the mistake and planned to re-send the correct ballots to just Friendswood voters or the entire Galveston County.

Collison now has this advice for anyone expecting a mail-in ballot.

"Double check everything, and make sure your ballot doesn't say sample on the top," Collison said. "I just figure anybody who desires to vote should be able to and do it in the manner that's not throwing question and confusion on the whole process."

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