Ballot, pamphlet reprints each total 40,000

The Island County Auditor’s Office had to reprint more than 40,000 ballots and 40,000 voter’s pamphlets for the Aug. 19 primary election.

The errors were discovered before the ballots and pamphlets were mailed out, so voters have the corrected versions and don't have to worry.

Auditor Sheilah Crider admitted that a spelling error in the name of a state attorney general candidate led to the ballot reprinting. She said she didn’t have the exact cost of the reprinting, but estimated it at between $10,000 to $14,000.

“We wanted to make sure every ballot was 100 percent accurate,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we have in no way disenfranchised any voters.”

At first, Crider denied that the 40,000 voter’s pamphlets also had to be reprinted. But an official from Sound Publishing, the company that printed the documents, reported that the pamphlets did indeed have to be reprinted because of an error. Sound Publishing owns the Whidbey News-Times.

In response, Crider said that pamphlets probably did have to be reprinted, but she wasn’t aware of it. If they did, she said it probably cost “a nominal amount.” About $2,000, she said.

“We deeply regret we had a consonant in the wrong place,” she said, adding that names on the ballot and in the voter’s pamphlets must be spelled the same.

Earlier this summer, Crider admitted to mistakes in the 2,040 ballots and voter’s pamphlets sent out to members of the military and their families.

Island County commissioner candidate Angie Homola became upset when a portion of her statement was cut out of the pamphlet. Crider responded by copying corrected pages of the pamphlet, with both Homola and Commissioner Mac McDowell’s complete statements, and immediately sending them out to everyone who received a military ballot.

Homola wasn’t happy. She wanted an entirely new package of ballots and corrected pamphlets re-sent to the military folks.

She got her wish. Later in the week, Crider said she found out about the spelling error of the attorney general candidate’s name on the ballots. The ballots and pamphlets were all reprinted and mailed out once again.

Crider said the cost of reprinting the military ballots was about $2,100. The voter’s pamphlets sent to the military members are printed in-house, she said, so the cost was very small.

The last eight months have undoubtedly been tough on Crider. The county commissioners appointed her as auditor in the beginning of the year, after former Auditor Suzanne Sinclair quit.

Crider said the office has been absolutely hectic dealing with the new Top 2 Primary system. They’ve had to keep up with 123 changes so far in state law and the state administrative code. She has a folder inches thick with changes in elections.

But with lessons learned, she said the general election should go smoothly.

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