By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
EVERETT — Snohomish County voters can stop waiting for their election pamphlet to arrive in the mail.
It’s not coming.
Forced to cut spending, Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel canceled publication of voter guides for the primary and posted information such as candidate statements online.
Weikel called it an “extremely difficult decision.” The move will save taxpayers the $70,000 it costs to produce and mail the pamphlets to 377,478 registered voters.
“I think the local voters pamphlet is an extremely valuable tool,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s not a mandated service and in this economic time I had to reduce my budget.”
Had the money been spent on pamphlets, Weikel said she would have had to lay off employees to come up with the same amount of savings.
A brief note informing voters of the change went out with ballots last week.
Weikel provided County Council members and the county executive with an additional explanation this week.
“With such widespread access to the Internet, it seemed natural to test a pilot program by producing this information in an online format only,” she wrote in an e-mail to the elected officials.
As of Wednesday, about 100 people had phoned the elections office to find out why they hadn’t received a pamphlet, Weikel said. Some of them just have questions but others are expressing consternation, she said.
“I’m not going to say they’re extremely happy about the decision but there is an understanding that we’ve done the best we can to get the information out with our limited resources,” she said.
Voters who do not own a computer and are unable to access one should call the elections office for assistance, she said.
There will be a voters pamphlet for the general election in November. It is affordable because the county and state will jointly produce it and share the costs, she said.
A voter pamphlet can be read online on the Snohomish County elections website at www.snoco.org/elections. If you have questions, call the office at 425-388-3444. For a PDF of the guide: www.co.snohomish.wa.us/documents/ Departments/Auditor/Elections/primarylvp2.pdf.