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Unofficial Washington voter website creators explain intentions

Founders of VoteWashington.info said the site is an easy-to-use portal that pulls together public data. The state had received complaints about it.

After warning about an unofficial voter website earlier this week, Secretary of State Kim Wyman now says she does not think the site's creators meant to cause any harm.

Wyman said she talked with the owners of the website VoteWashington.info on Thursday.

“I really had the feeling that they were trying to help voters be aware that their ballot had been challenged and putting that information in a single spot that was easily searchable,” Wyman said.

The state's official election website is VoteWa.gov, but some people have been using VoteWashington.info to check the status of their ballots.

On Tuesday, Wyman raised concerns about the unofficial site and said she did not know who was behind it, or if the information could be trusted.

RELATED: Secretary of State warns voters about unofficial ballot info website

“The data that's represented on the site is 100% accurate. It is technically a very precise data set,” said Lester Meeks, one of the site's co-founders.

He said he and another Whatcom County voter built the site as an easy-to-use portal that pulls together public data, showing who has voted, who has not and whether anyone is having problems with their ballots.

“We would love for every ballot that is cast to have the opportunity to be counted,” Meeks said.

Wyman said she issued the alert earlier this week, in part, because the website tells some voters their ballots are “rejected,” when, the ballots are challenged and still fixable.

It does not help that the state's data sets use the word "rejected,” a term that seems to have caused confusion.

“That's not verbiage that we created, that is the verbiage that is directly in the ballot status report,” Meeks said.

Wyman said she asked the website's creators to take it down.

Meeks said they're keeping it up, with a message encouraging voters to use the official state website, VoteWa.gov, to check on their ballots.

RELATED: How to fix a 'challenged' ballot in Washington