Vote Twice and Go to Jail - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/21/04

Vote Twice and Go to Jail

Lubbock County citizens continue to flock to the polls as voting sites see the largest turnout this election. In just three complete days of early voting, nearly 10,000 Lubbock County voters have cast their ballot in the general election, and just over 7,000 have voted in the Lubbock special election. On Wednesday, voters posted the largest turnout yet.

You might have heard the old expression, "vote early and vote often," and we wondered could that really happen? On election day, voters can only vote in their precinct, so once you've signed your name, you can't vote again. But during early voting, those registered to vote can find their name on lists at every voting location. But before you think that means you can get away with voting more than once; know this, double voting is a serious crime with a stiff penalty.

"So far we have found that Lubbock County citizens do the right thing for the right reasons. We don't have the kind of people that they are so rabid that they are going to try and put one past the system and the system works too. We have caught the people and we'll catch anybody else that does it," says Lubbock District Attorney Bill Sowder.

Sowder says if you intentionally vote more than once, you will be caught and punished. "If you vote twice in an election then you are subject to being charged a third degree felony which is punishable by two years in the penitentiary all the way up to 10 years in the pen and a $5,000 fine."

As for your multiple votes, they still count. That's because the ballots are secret and the elections office has no way of knowing who voted what. But at the end of each voting day, election workers type in who voted and it goes straight into the state system, if there's a duplicate name it's found right away.

"But the majority of counties across the state do it just like we do it. They have a check in sheet, people sign it and then at night when the election books come in our people key in the voters and immediately update it to the state on a daily basis," Elections Administrator Dorothy Kennedy said.

Sowder says they've had a handful of problems in the last several years and even though this year we have a highly contested local congressional race and a record number of people voting. So far their have been no double voters and he doesn't foresee a problem.

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