Oy. Here’s a doozy from the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate newsletter:
Washingtonians who recently registered to vote using the Department of Licensing’s website may not have actually been added to the rolls, the Secretary of State’s office disclosed today in a late afternoon media advisory.
The Department of Licensing, which issues driver’s licenses, vehicle licenses, and boat licenses, allows voters to request that their voter registration be updated when they update their driver’s license. DOL also allows Washingtonians to register to vote when obtaining a license through its website.
But apparently, DOL hasn’t been forwarding these new and updated voter registrations to the Secretary of State’s office. Until last Friday, that is.
The Secretary of State’s office says a total of 21,000 voters may potentially be affected in some way by the blunder.
Here’s a more detailed explanation from co-elections director Katie Blinn:
When people update their address for their driver’s license with the state Department of Licensing, they can also request to update their address for voter registration purposes. This program is commonly known as Motor-Voter. DOL recently added a question about voter registration to its address update page on its website. However, the Secretary of State’s office has not been receiving these voter registration updates from DOL, and therefore has not been able to pass these updates on to the county elections offices. The Secretary of State’s Office just received the information Friday evening, just two business days before Election Day.
Obviously, ballots have already been mailed to voters, so this is a problem. The question is… how big of a problem?
Approximately 14,800 address updates were submitted to DOL that were not received by the Secretary of State’s Office. However, we think that county elections offices had already received some of these address changes due to voters contacting the elections office directly, or receiving address update information from the Post Office.
We think? Wouldn’t it be better to know for sure?
An additional 5,900 people requested to update their voter registration information on the DOL website, but were not previously registered. The information previously provided by the DOL address update system is not sufficient to complete a new voter registration so these people will be receiving a notice from their county elections office asking them to complete the registration. They can respond to the notice or fill out a new voter registration form. If anyone wants to vote in this General Election, they can go to their county elections office to vote a provisional ballot and complete the registration.
Great. So that means nearly six thousand people who thought they’d done what they needed to do to be added to the rolls didn’t actually get added, and now they’re going to have jump through more hoops in order to vote.
KING-TV Channel 5 points out a dispute between two arms of the state government, each giving different versions of the story behind why the 21,000 Washingtonians didn’t get their ballots as required by law.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Is this the result of years of budget cuts? Have we finally cut even great state governments like Washington to the point that they cannot even get the ballots out anymore?
Time to stop cutting government budgets, eh?