October 24, 2006

Will Washington become another Florida?

King County is the largest county in Washington State, and a reliable Democratic stronghold.  By November 7th, 67% of King County voters are expected to vote by mail.  However there is a snag reminiscent of the Florida 2000 butterfly ballot fiasco. Specifically, voters cannot put regular stamps on their ballot envelopes.  The King County Elections authority included a blue insert with the ballots that directs voters to disregard the square on the ballot envelope that says "Postage required - Affix First Class Stamp here."  The blue insert says that "due to the length of your November General Election ballot, additional postage is required, 63 cents total."

But it gets more complicated. The blue notice is printed in Chinese on one side and English on the other.  It's easy to miss the small print that says "turn over for English" on the Chinese side and vice-versa.  And there is no insert in other languages, like Spanish.

And now, the Washington State Democratic Party is compounding the problem. They recently sent a mailing to Democratic voters called "STAMP OUT The Bush Agenda With a 39 cent Postage Stamp."  The mailing, shown below, has 5 pictures of a 39 cent stamp, including one 39 cent stamp right on the ballot envelope, where, if you hadn't read the blue notice, you would have thought you should place a 39 cent stamp.  Ooops.

Update: The US Postal Service will deliver the ballots anyway. So this isn't as big as deal as I first feared, though it's still pretty silly.

(Click images to see larger versions)




By Will Friedman in Politics | Permalink  | 


King County election officals already let the public know that If the standard 39 cent stamp is used, the ballot will be delivered and counted. I believe this is "prudent" on their part, but also a way to cover their butts against another fiasco in voting. Everyone is watching King County elections this time, as they should, but I believe it won't be a huge fiasco like Florida.

Posted by: Sean | Oct 27, 2006 8:40:59 AM

I'm voting absentee, but I still have concerns about election fraud this time around.

Posted by: SheaNC | Oct 28, 2006 8:06:08 PM

The last three times I've voted like this, I wondered why our ballots aren't "postage paid," I mean, why should you have to pay to vote? Especially in Thurston County where you pretty much have to vote like this.

If I was a smart candidate (outside of King Co. of course) I'd do a cheapo little mailer, just a postcard, with a first class stamp for folks to use to mail their ballot.

Posted by: Emmett O'Connell | Nov 5, 2006 6:14:39 AM

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