Spelling error corrected on 2,040 ballots
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
July 29, 2008 · Updated 5:54 PM
The Island County Auditor discovered a mistake on a ballot sent out early to 2,040 members of the military and their dependents.
This comes just days after an error was found on a voter’s pamphlet sent out to those same voters.
Members of the military and their dependents can sign up to receive early ballots. Those who did, received a package with their primary ballots and voter’s pamphlet early last week.
Oak Harbor resident Angie Homola, a candidate for county commissioner, received her military ballot, but noticed three sentences of her statement was cut out of the voter’s pamphlet. Her husband is a Navy reservist.
Homola complained to Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider. The auditor admitted her office made a mistake by inadvertently cutting the statement when a computer file was reduced in size. To remedy the situation, she reproduced a page of the voter’s pamphlet with Homola’s statement, together with that of her rival, Commissioner Mac McDowell.
On Monday, the corrected page was re-sent to all 2,040 people who received military ballots.
But later in the week, the auditor discovered that the name of a candidate for state Attorney General was misspelled on the ballots sent to the military personnel.
“There were six proofreaders, including me,” Crider said. “Every single one of us missed it.”
As a result, Crider had the ballots re-printed.
“Even though it was just one consonant, the ballots have to be 100 percent accurate,” she said.
At the end of last week, the package with the corrected ballots and the corrected voter’s pamphlet were mailed out again.
For those who received the early ballots, the best thing to do is tear up the first ballot and use the second ballot for voting.
But Crider said if her office receives any of the first ballots, they will be counted. The ballots will have to be duplicated by hand onto a corrected ballot. If the office receives two ballots from one person, only the second, corrected ballot will be counted.
As for the rest of the ballots, Crider said they will be brought to the post office Thursday morning. Which means people can start voting as soon as they get them.
Crider, a Republican who was appointed in January, admits it’s been a difficult time, with the errors and the new Top Two Primary to contend with. But she said the problems have been ironed out.
“We are going to work smarter and harder,” she said.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.