Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Votes do count

I am writing this letter to respond to Gail L. Rowland’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 19, 2006 Daily News. Ms. Rowland’s interpretation as to whether a vote is counted or not is skewed. When a ballot is received in the election department, the first process is to verify a voter’s signature. If a signature is in question, the voter is sent a letter and a new registration form the same day the ballot was returned. This gives the voter the opportunity to correct the ballot in question and to have the responsibility of updating the signature so their ballot will be counted.

The election staff (not Eunice Coker) are the individuals who make the first determination as to whether a signature matches or not. Ms. Rowland questioned what law makes this a legal process (WAC 434.379.020).

If a voter chooses not to correct the question concerning their ballot, the next step is for the ballot to be sent to the County Canvassing Board. The County Canvassing Board by law consists of these three (3) individuals: county auditor, county prosecutor and a county commissioner who make the determination as to whether the ballot in question will be accepted or rejected. Eunice Coker does not have the sole responsibility of making this determination.

For this election, an election staff member is designated to serve on the canvas board, because Eunice Coker is on the ballot. Election law dictates every process carried out by election staff across the state. To be completely informed called the auditor’s office, or go to wwwl.leg.wa.gov/LawsAndAgencyRules and read RCW29A and WAC 434.

Debbie Hooper
Whitman County election supervisor

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