Video: 'Barack Osama' printed on NY ballots

updated 10/10/2008 5:57:13 PM ET 2008-10-10T21:57:13

Who is running for president? In an upstate New York county, hundreds of voters have been sent absentee ballots in which they could vote for “Barack Osama.”

The absentee ballots sent to voters in Rensselaer County identified the two presidential candidates as “Barack Osama” and “John McCain.” In the United States, the best-known individual named Osama is Osama bin Laden, leader of the al Qaida terrorist group behind the 2001 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City.

The typographical terror error was first reported by the Times Union of Albany.

The elections office faxed a statement in which the two commissioners, Democrat Edward McDonough and Republican Larry Bugbee, said they regret the error but never acknowledge what the error was.

“It’s human error, it’s very unfortunate, it’s an embarrassment to our office, obviously,” McDonough said in a later phone interview. “We wish we could turn back the clock, but we can’t.”

When they discovered the mistake, officials shredded the remaining “Osama” ballots and mailed correct versions to the roughly 300 people who had already received them.

McDonough said the “Osama” mistake was made in only one of the 13 ballot versions mailed throughout the county, located east of the state capital of Albany.

Voters who received both versions will be allowed to send in either one and have it counted, McDonough said.

Obama spokesman Blake Zeff said the campaign is “glad officials are working to correct this error and we assume it won’t happen again.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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