Letters to the Editor

Political: Voting process is very secure

Absentee voting in Washington is more secure than recent letters and columns imply.

First question: When a voter receives more than one ballot, can they vote both of them?

Emphatically, “No.” When we receive an absentee ballot, the voter’s signature is checked against the signature stored in their voter registration record. We check them all. If it is received after election day, the postmark date is checked to be sure it was mailed on time.

When the signature is checked, the voter’s record is marked as having voted and the date the ballot was received is entered. The ballot then goes on its way through the rest of the process.

If another ballot is received from the same voter, we would not even open it, let alone count it.

What about voters registered in more than one county?

First, a voter who knowingly causes himself or herself to be registered in more than one county is guilty of a Class C felony (RCW 29A.84.130(5).) Voting more than once in an election is also a Class C felony (RCW 29A.84.650 and RCW 29A.84.680) and it would be discovered sooner or later. The Secretary of State’s office currently does periodic database comparisons and investigates those with the same name and birth date. Voting in the same election in two different counties would show upon investigation.

People who may have accidentally registered in more than one county, when they move, should write a letter to the elections official or auditor in the county of non-residence, instructing the auditor to cancel their voter registration in “x” county. We cannot cancel the registration without their signed request, due to provisions in the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) passed in 1997. The duplication would be avoided if the previous registration information is provided, as is requested.

Secondly, one of the changes to voter registration under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is a shift from individual counties’ voter registration lists to a statewide voter registration database. This means that it will be next to impossible to be registered to vote in more than one county. Entering a new registration with the same name and birth date (which must match the driver’s license number given) will trigger a red flag, and the counties will investigate to determine the correct registration.

I would be happy to answer questions voters may have. Please feel free to call me at 679-7367.

Suzanne Sinclair

Island County Auditor


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