Travis Co. DA's office investigating 17 cases of 'double-voting'

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says after every election they look for anything unusual in their post-election audit. This time they found something.

"This time we found 17 people who had double-voted. That is unusual because our system is designed to stop people from making the mistake of voting twice and it has done that for years," DeBeauvoir said.

"We referred it to the County Attorney's office and they reviewed it and determined that if there was an offense it would be a felony offense," said Travis Co. Tax Assessor-collector and Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant. 

Now the case is in the hands of the Travis County District Attorney's office. 

It's up to them to determine if the 17 voters intentionally voted twice or if it was just some sort of mistake.

One is a crime, the other probably wouldn't hold up in court. "Were they absolutely intending to vote twice?  That's voter fraud.  But if it was an accident, if it was a mistake, if they didn't mean to do that, that's a completely different set of circumstances," DeBeauvoir said.

Both DeBeauvoir and Elfant say many of the 17 were over the ages of 50 and 60. 

"Elderly people sometimes forget they voted early. Other people voted early and then they see something in the newspaper and say 'Well I didn't mean to vote for that person, I want to go change my vote' and of course you can't but not everybody knows that," Elfant said.

DeBeauvoir says the time and place of the double-votes -- random.  No pattern to anything.

"We know they all voted early and then they came back on election day which also tends to lend credence to the fact that it was a mistake," she said. 

The Travis County District Attorney's office says if they do prove a voter intentionally voted twice, that's a potential violation of the illegal voting provision of the Election Code, a Second Degree Felony. 

Meanwhile, the Clerk's office is trying to get to the bottom of whatever computer glitch allowed this to happen and make sure it doesn't happen again.  But DeBeauvoir says whatever the glitch was, it was a small one.

"3 one thousandths of 1 percent mistake, so it is tiny and even if you were to extrapolate that to other counties and add that up to the state, it's still a tiny number," she said.

If it turns out one of the 17 intentionally voted twice, the DA's office says the case could be presented to a Grand Jury and they would be facing two to twenty years.

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