Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll from a proud Lefty, Liberal, Socialist Hippie

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Vote - DOA?

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.

No exceptions."

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


Allen McPheeters said...

Hi, Chad,

Thanks Snohomish County, for going to all-mail balloting. It's so good to be confident that my vote will be counted.

In your case, Chad, if Snohomish County still voted at the polls, you would have been asked (next Tuesday) if you wanted a Democratic or Republican ballot. Instead, you nearly lost your vote.

Time to re-open the polling places, I think.


My wife and I have been disenfranchised by the US Postal Service.

We just moved from King County to Snohomish County, and had to re-register to vote. So, I went out to the Snohomish County Auditor's web site, and saw this in the FAQs.

Where can I register?
You may obtain mail-in registration forms at all Public Schools, Libraries, City/Town Clerks' Offices, County Auditor's Office, Post Offices, and many other public places. You may register when you renew your Driver's License. You may also obtain a voter registration form here and mail it in.

(As it happens, I did renew my drivers license in July (after my move) but they didn't ask me if I wanted to register to vote, and I didn't think about it until several days later.)

This pretty much sounds like I have to register by mail. So, on August 19th, my lovely wife and I headed for the Post Office, filled in our registration form, and dropped them in the slot.

Washington State law provides that registration by mail is counted as of the date of the postmark on the registration form.

Well, my voter registration card came in this week, and it says:

A call to the Snohomish County Auditor's office confirmed that my registration form was postmarked August 29, 2006, and that nothing can be done about it.

So, thanks USPS.


Tahoma Activist said...

On behalf of the US Postal Service, please allow me to apologize for this error. Having witnessed several mistakes of this nature, I can tell you that a follow-up call to management can sometimes set things right. They can write up an affidavit that says what time they received the mail piece and why they waited to postmark it.

It may not get you your vote back, but it's possible that the auditor's office would take that and allow you to vote again.

Again, I'm sorry. The way the Postal Service is run is a little haphazard these days, what with management trying to "run it like a business", which means constantly short-staffing and cutting in the areas of quality control. I wish that every government agency would instead try to run their agencies like government agencies, and spend the money wisely, but that's apparently not the world we're living in.