Headed to the polls? Check your ballot twice to avoid messing up your vote

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Warning of possible voting issues while filling out ballots, Kevin Quinn reports.

Record early voting crowds have led Fort Bend County Commissioners to take an emergency vote to extend the hours during which you can cast your ballot.

Hours were scheduled to be 8am-5pm this week, but commissioners just approved an extension to 7am-7pm for Thursday and Friday. You can view hours for this weekend and next week on Fort Bend County's website.

Elections officials in Fort Bend say 19,000 people cast a ballot on just the first day of voting. That's nearly 40 percent more than the previous record.

Early voting crowds in Fort Bend and Harris counties and elsewhere are driving growing concern about the accuracy of ballots cast. While some say there's a conspiracy, officials insist there can be a simple explanation.

Mary Campbell, 67, cast her ballot in Harris County Monday.

"I said this is not right. It's doing something wrong!" she said. Campbell says she did not vote a straight party ticket but claims the machine still changed her vote.

RELATED: Early voters brave long wait times on first day

"The president that I was voting for, it went to the other president," Campbell said.

Campbell called Eyewitness News asking us to issue a word of warning. It is one echoed by elections officials across the area -- including Harris and Fort Bend counties.

"What they are doing is de-selecting, so then they get to that summary screen and say oh! My candidate is not there," said Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. He says the problem comes primarily when someone votes a straight party ticket, then clicks "enter" on a race to emphasize their vote.

"What they've done is un-selected them from the straight party choice," Stanart added.

In Fort Bend, officials say voters have done something similar by rushing through and hitting "next" and not waiting for the next screen before hitting "next," or another key, again. Accidentally in their haste, un-marking the candidate they meant to choose.

Officials say the best way to avoid trouble is to review your selections carefully prior to hitting the "cast ballot" button.

"Everybody needs to look at that, what's going on," said Campbell.

That's good election advice. Whether its your first election or you've done it a dozen times.

If you are voting a straight party ticket and you accidentally change one of the votes you should also get a blue warning screen, so be on the lookout for that. That should serve as notice that you might look more closely at your votes before you cast your ballot.

If you find irregularities still, officials suggest you immediately contact the election judge at your voting location.

Locations for early voting.
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