Pierce County ballot insert confusing, critics say

TACOMA, Wash. -- Democratic Secretary of State candidate Tina Podlodowski led criticism of Pierce County's ballot packets Monday, calling them "misinformation" and demanding clarification.  County officials said they saw no confusion.

The source of the issue is an insert included in the ballots mailed out late last week.  It has a yellow paper inside reminding voters that Election Day is November 8, but the mail-in date is November 4.

"I feel it's misleading and causes confusion," said community activist Taneashia Sudds, who was one of many to notify the Podlodowski campaign, "This could easily say, 'suggested deadline November 4, deadline November 8."

How did the November 4 date come about? The U.S. Postal Service notified election officials in September to advise voters to mail ballots back a week early. All ballots must be postmarked by USPS on Election Day in order to make them legal.

A spokesperson with the U.S.P.S. said Wednesday it is "totally confident" it will be able to postmark ballots mailed November 8.

Washington's Secretary of State's office said more than 11,000 ballots in 2014 were not counted because they did not meet the postmarking deadline.  It also stood behind Pierce County's insert.

Current Secretary of State Kim Wyman is running against Podlodowski.

"I have a lot of confidence that Pierce County voters are smart," said Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson. "If you take that insert in the context of the ballot, the envelope and the voters pamphlet, I'm confident voters understand the nation's biggest election in history is November 8."

King County said it also encourages voters to return ballots early, but it does not show two dates "to avoid confusion."

Copyright 2016 KING


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