Democrats could sue Pierce County over confusing ballots

Oct 27, 2016, 11:33 AM

Washington State Democrats may sue Pierce County over what they say are confusing mailing instructions on ballots.

Instructions included in ballots from the Pierce County Auditors Office says “Return your ballot early.” A reminder was added to mail the ballots by Nov. 4, The Tacoma News Tribune reports.

Under state law, ballots don’t have to be mailed until Election Day on Nov. 8.

KIRO Radio Voter’s Guide

The News Tribune reports that voters’ pamphlets sent out a week before ballots had similar instructions. Within the pamphlet, however, Pierce County election officials made clear they were simply recommending ballots be mailed four days early to ensure they get postmarked by election day and are counted.

But state Democrats say that the Nov. 4 reference will confuse voters and suppress turnout. The potential lawsuit follows criticism from Tina Podlodowski, Democratic candidate for secretary of state.

Pierce County Assessor Julie Anderson responded by saying the recommendation was based on advice from the U.S. Postal Service.

“There is nothing more heartbreaking for us than to have to mail a voter after the election and say we received your ballot and we couldn’t count it,” she said.

Anderson previously said she doubts there would be much confusion.

“Pierce County voters, they are pretty darn smart,” she said.

Meanwhile, extra-long ballots in three Washington counties will require more than one stamp for voters to mail. The Associated Press reports that extra initiatives in Snohomish, Whatcom, and Douglas counties mean mail-in ballots will take more than one first-class stamp. Ballots can be returned for free in drop boxes.

Ballots were sent to voters across the state last week. In all other counties, the cost to return a ballot is 47 cents, the price of a standard stamp.

MyNorthwest News

richard sherman...

Frank Sumrall

WSP: Richard Sherman arrested for DUI, booked in King County Jail

Richard Sherman was subsequently booked in the King County jail, officially rostered at the jail at 4:51 a.m.

20 hours ago

Burien camping ban...

Sam Campbell

‘I have authority:’ Burien City Council member confronts homeless outside condo

Burien City Council member Linda Akey is facing scrutiny after a video was posted of her confronting homeless people outside of her home.

21 hours ago

Image: Surveillance videos captured a man breaking into a car and allegedly stealing cars in broad ...

Louie Tran, KIRO 7 News

‘People are afraid:’ Surveillance video captures daylight break-in at Tacoma business

Residents are frustrated after surveillance videos captured a man breaking into a car and allegedly stealing cars during the day in Tacoma.

22 hours ago

Image: The login page for Airbnb website is displayed on a computer on May 8, 2021, in Washington, ...

Matt Markovich

Proposed 10% tax on short-term rentals closer to becoming state law

In a move aimed at addressing affordable housing, lawmakers may give municipalities the option of implementing a 10% short-term rental tax.

23 hours ago

Northgate shooting...

Bill Kaczaraba

Drive-by shooting on I-5 unfolds near Northgate

The Washington State Patrol is investigating a shooting that happened near Northgate late Friday morning.

2 days ago

Wedding bouquet...

Matt Markovich

Child marriages soon to be illegal in state of Washington

The legal age to get married will be 18 after both chambers of the Washington Legislature passed a bill outlawing child marriage.

2 days ago

Democrats could sue Pierce County over confusing ballots