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Some Bastrop County mail-in ballots returned to voters in postal error

The postal service said mail-handling machines processed the ballots either upside down or backward, causing the return address to read as a delivery address.

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas — Editor's note: The above video is about a different voting-related incident that occurred in Bastrop County in February.

Some voters in Bastrop County ended up having their mail-in ballots mailed back to them as early voting for the July primary runoff election began this week.

The postal service said mail handling machines processed the ballots either upside down or backward, causing the return address to read as a delivery address.

Kristin Miles, the elections administrator for Bastrop County, said the elections office doesn't know how many voters were impacted, but she would estimate less than 50. She said the office has mailed out just under 4,000 ballots for the July election.


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"It appears that one of the ballots ran through the mail system backward, reading the address on the back of the envelope, and one ran through the mail system upside down, reading the address on the return address label," Miles said.

You can see what Miles described in the photos below:

Miles said Bastrop County reached out to Smith County, which was dealing with the same issue, to see how officials resolved it. 

"After reaching out to the Smith County Elections Department to discuss how they were able to resolve the issue, our office has decided to place labels on all future mail ballots with the barcoded voter label in the return address section of the envelope and not place a label on the back of the envelope," Miles said. "We are hopeful that this will eliminate any future delivery issues with the USPS." 

RELATED: Processing error sends multiple ballots to hundreds of Bastrop County voters

This isn't the first ballot error Bastrop County has dealt with this year. In February, a processing error by a third-party vendor caused 484 voters to each receive three ballots by mail. The county had used a third-party vendor to process voter requests for mail-in ballots since May 2017, but following the February mishap, it returned to processing and mailing ballots directly from the elections office.

Miles said Bastrop County ballots have always been delivered by the USPS, even when they were using a third-party vendor for processing.

WATCH: Bastrop County voters receive multiple ballots in the mail