Thank you Jeff Switzer and the Everett Herald! Today you saved democracy.
Over the weekend, I sat down and voted my primary ballot. I was very careful to vote only in the "blue column" (wanted to make sure my vote for Hong Tran counted). Down the list I went: Hong Tran, Rick Larsen, Jean Berkey, Mike Sells, and then on the back for the non-partisan District Court Judge and Everett city charter initiatives. Short, sweet and Democratic. Now, because my wife and my son have not yet marked their ballots, I figure I will wait and mail them all together this week when they are done.
But wait!!!! This morning I am reading the Herald online before heading off to work and there it is: Voter error may kill 1 in 5 ballots . According to the article by Jeff Switzer, "Thousands of primary ballots will not be counted in partisan races because Snohomish County voters failed to follow directions." I figure there are some folks out there who still determined to vote back and forth between Democrats and Republicans just to be defiant - nothing for me to worry about. But then, further down "Yet their choices from that part of the ballot must be thrown out. That's because the voters didn't pick their party affiliation - a task of connecting the front and back of an arrow with a simple line." Connect WHICH arrow? I didn't remember seeing a single arrow at the top of the column confirming I was voting "Democrat". I looked!
"Partly, people aren't reading the directions, and, two, they don't want to pick a party," county elections manager Carolyn Diepenbrock said.
State law requires voters in the primary election to choose among Republican or Democratic or nonpartisan. On the problem ballots, voters clearly supported candidates of a single party. Failing to connect the arrow, though, requires those votes to be disqualified, Diepenbrock said.
OK, now I'm worried. Time to open my sealed envelope . Sure enough, there is no special arrow at the top of the column designating party preference...... What's this? There, in the 1st column on the left as you look at the full ballot, there they sit - two lonesome little arrows, one blue - one red; one Democrat - one Republican. Yep, there they sit with no little line connecting the two halves of the little blue arrow that will validate my choices in this primary election.
Thank you Jeff Switzer. My vote has been saved. Now if the Elections Department will only forgive some Scotch Tape on that darned "Security Envelope". Oh Carolyn................
Chad (The Left) Shue