Over 1,300 residents have not received ballots

Glitch in VoteWA system resulted in incorrect zip code information



KHADIJAH BUTLER, Evergreen reporter

Whitman County elections happen Tuesday, but over 1,300 residents have not received their ballots.

Whitman County Auditor Sandy Jamison said the county is switching to a new system called VoteWA. The site is used for statewide voter registration and is supposed to unite all 30 counties, Jamison said.

Once the voter data was transferred into the system, a glitch occurred that resulted in the zip codes incorrectly adding an extra digit, she said. But once the system is running correctly, it will be smoother and more efficient, Jamison said.

This is the first general election since the county has been added to the VoteWA system.

Jamison said the Secretary of State’s office did not notify her about the registration glitch. By Monday, the county auditor’s office received a large volume of calls from people who did not get their ballots.

When she called the Secretary in Olympia, Jamison informed Sec. Kim Wyman that a glitch had happened and they could not readily determine which counties were affected.

Officials from the Lincoln County auditors’ office said they did not receive any notice of ballots missing or being delayed.

Thurston County auditor Mary Hall said her office uses a ballot tracker site to guarantee the ballots are delivered to voters. She said they would have known if any of the ballots did not reach voters.

King County communications officer Halei Watkins said King county, which is the largest in the state, did not receive an above-average number of calls about missing ballots.

The Secretary of State office completed a list of all the people without ballots, which included residents that called and reported their missing ballots.

Jamison said her office had enough extra ballots and started to manually pull them, package, label and verify the zip codes on all the addresses. They were taken to the post office today to be delivered.

“My staff is working overtime to hand-process all 1,300 ballots,” Jamison said.

Her office had to get extra staff to pack all the ballots to ensure they would be sent out before their Tuesday deadline, she said. They were able to finish on Wednesday night and will be sending them all out Friday, Jamison said.

The Whitman County Courthouse will be open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Jamison said she encourages anyone who does not receive their ballot by Sunday to contact the auditor office via email.