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Washington State: Ballot errors start to crop up

Jonathan Bechtle
Freedom Foundation

Posted Nov. 1, 2012

Washington State – Ballot errors seem inevitable in any major election, but unfortunately they can result in an increased likelihood of double voting and disenfranchisement or misinformation of voters. Three problems have cropped up recently in Pierce, King and Jefferson County, affecting 35,000+ voters.

If you see ballot errors or suspicious handling of ballots, let us know via our election issue reporting portal.

Pierce County Puts Voters in the Wrong District
As reported by the Bellingham Herald:

Pierce County election officials are mailing new ballots to 1,422 voters after a printing error led to residents of two precincts receiving ballots with the wrong congressional district.

The affected voters in South Tacoma, Parkland and Spanaway live in the new 10th Congressional District, but received ballots with candidates for the 6th District.
County officials attributed the mistake to their printing vendor using incorrect plates and to the elections division not catching the error. Elections officials audited all versions of the ballot on Monday to ensure no other mistakes were made.

The flawed ballots, if returned marked, will be flagged. If those voters don’t later submit replacement ballots, their original votes will remain valid in every race except the congressional district.

The error comes at a time when voters may be unsure of which races should be on their ballots. Every 10 years, political maps are redrawn to reflect population changes recorded in the latest U.S. Census. As a result, some voters are casting ballots in different county, legislative or congressional districts than they voted on previously.

Let’s hope the margin of victory in the congressional race is more than 1,400 votes.

King County sending double ballots to 10,000 voters
From the Seattle Times:

Officials say some King County voters who updated their voter registration in October will receive two ballots this year, but won’t be able to vote twice.
King County elections spokeswoman Kim van Ekstrom says that while some voters will get two ballots, one of them has already been suspended. She says voters receiving two ballots will get one that marked “replacement ballot.”

Van Ekstrom says that the county sends their voter information to the printing vendor to create ballots on September 27.

But voters who updated their personal information after October 9 may get the replacement ballot because there wasn’t enough time to stop the printing of the first one.
She says there are about 10,000 voters who updated their information during that late time frame.

Thanks to our vote-by-mail system, these voters and the rest of us will simply have to trust that King County will count the right ballot, and only one for each voter.

What country?

The Times also noted this story from Jefferson County:

The ballot mailed out to nearly 23,000 voters in Jefferson County contains a typo that asks them to pick a president of the Untied States.
County Auditor Donna Eldridge told the Peninsula Daily News ( the mistake got past five proofreaders. She doesn’t think the misspelling will affect the vote for president.

Time to get new proofreaders.

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