Volunteers Mobilize to Get Invalid Ballots Counted

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Up and down Island County and throughout Legislative District 10, volunteers try to reach voters to reconcile ballots from the most recent election. With so many races, especially in Legislative District 10, where mere hundreds of votes separate candidates, these volunteers aim to push candidates over the top.

Early morning training

Local party leaders are training volunteers and sending them out to contact voters and have their ballot counted. “2 more saved,” says Richard MacQuarrie, who works to reclaim ballots in his local community on Camano Island. “I’ve talked to 16 voters and got seven ballots saved already. Now that it’s Monday, it’s harder because people aren’t home.” When asked if he had experienced any irregularities, he found a couple of unusual circumstances. “I went to a couple of houses that had mismatched signatures as the discrepancy, but when I arrived at the home, it was vacant. The most unusual experience was meeting a family who hurriedly asked me to leave when I asked to speak to the voter. It was awkward. After I left, I called the voter’s contact info. When I spoke to the voter personally, she stated she hadn’t cast a ballot. I reported that to the volunteer coordinator.”

Volunteers out on the trail

MacQuarrie’s experience resonates with those concerned about the legitimacy of our electoral process. The nation is on edge regarding the reliability and validity of ballots, especially mail-in ones, which is the only form of voting in WA state. The county auditor’s process to determine the validity of a ballot is by authenticating the signature. Michele Reagan, Island County Elections Supervisor, stated, “We send out letters to voters initially, then when it gets closer to the deadline we call them if it’s not fixed.” The county has until close of business on 11/23 to have ballots reconciled. The voter can rectify the problem personally, but many don’t receive the notice or don’t act on it, which is why the volunteers work. Ms. Reagan reported that the county has 400 ballots left to be validated by the deadline.

Due to the size of Island County many of these volunteers are having to drive between each home. They are certainly committed to ensuring votes are counted for each race.

As reported by the Free Press this weekend, some local races are very close, so these efforts could prove decisive. Keep reading the Free Press to stay up to date on all local election for Island County.

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