PADUCAH, Ky. (WSIL) -- It was Mary E. Thomas' first time voting in a primary after voting only in general elections for 30 years.
Thomas, a lifelong Democrat, received a Republican ballot Tuesday and filled it out, not realizing her error until she got home. She thinks the ballot belongs to someone else with the same name.
"How did I get changed from a Democrat to a Republican? I'm not Republican," Thomas said. "They apologized and said, 'There was nothing we can do.'"
McCracken County Clerk Julie Griggs says ballots become inaccessible after they're scanned in order to protect voter confidentiality.
"You can't track a ballot to a voter," Griggs said. "Once it goes in that scanner, it's there, and there's no way to know what voter voted in any ballot."
Thomas initially tried to vote by mail but decided to vote at the courthouse instead to save time. She noticed President Donald Trump's name on the ballot but believed the ballot had both parties, like a general election.
Dujuan Thomas, Mary's grandson, and a write-in candidate for Paducah mayor, believes election officials need to be proactive about helping older voters with voting procedures.
He feels others could face the same problem come Tuesday.
"How many other people has this happened to, but they don't realize it or speak up about it?" Dujuan asked. "People need to know to check their ballot and make sure they're not getting cheated out of their right to vote."
Griggs says there are safeguards in place to make sure wrong ballots don't get sent out, but that voting machines and election officials can make mistakes.
Griggs adds the best thing voters can do is stay informed, ask questions and be familiar with local candidates. Mary Thomas still wonders why a registered Democrat received a Republican ballot.
Dujuan Thomas says election workers "need better guidance" during to prevent wrong ballots from being issued.
"These aren't volunteers, these are court workers," Dujuan said. "They need to make sure that their workers in check, and they're actually going through the right steps of the election process."