Election commission says absentee ballot address problem fixed after overseas voter takes concerns to Twitter

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Even though Dublin, Ireland is more than 4,000 miles away from Memphis, Drew Thomas knows the importance of casting his vote via absentee ballot in this year’s elections.

“I’m from Memphis, but I’m currently a research fellow at University College Dublin,” Thomas said. “As an overseas citizen I have to send an absentee by mail, which I’ve done for many elections.”

That’s why he was concerned when he spotted some problems on the absentee ballot form sent to him from the Shelby County Election Commission.

“The URLs for help were incorrect websites and the voter instructions have the wrong mailing address to send my absentee ballot. The ZIP code was wrong,” he said. “It was disappointing because this could invalidate my ballot.”

He took to social media and reached out to the Shelby County Election Commission. So did WREG.

Election Commission Administrator Linda Phillips said they have a checks and balance system, and now know what happened with Thomas’ application.

“I think the specific case you’re referring to, and I can’t get into great detail, the envelope template for overseas voters had one ZIP code on it and the instructions had another. Either, both, are right,” she said.

Phillips said the issue has been fixed and only applied to what she called a small subset of overseas ballots.

“It was kind of a one-day fluke,” she said. “So, we caught onto it and fixed it immediately. So again, both addresses work.”

Thomas said he was happy to hear that the election commission said they fixed the problem.

“I imagine they’re really stressed this year with the vast influx of mail-in ballot requests, and I hope the state or county can see they need to allocate more resources,” he said.

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