Update: The Mill Creek ballot drop box is open again.
MILL CREEK — It happened again.
For the second time in two months, and third time in two years, the ballot box at the Mill Creek Post Office has been damaged in an apparent accident.
This time, it occurred in the middle of a busy presidential election season.
The Mill Creek ballot drop box is temporarily closed after the Friday incident, said Garth Fell, the Snohomish County Auditor whose office oversees elections. It also was was hit in September.
The box was struck by a truck, which dislodged it from its footings and bent the metal. All ballots remained safely inside the box and were not compromised, Fell said. The ballots have been removed by elections staff and will be processed.
“It’s frustrating,” Fell said. “That traffic circle seems to be difficult for trucks to navigate.”
The ballot drop box is part of a turnaround on 159th Place SE near the Mill Creek Post Office off Mill Creek Boulevard.
The drop box has been locked and wrapped until a replacement box can be installed, Fell said.
Snohomish County Elections is working to get a ballot drop box up and running as soon as possible. It could cost about $6,000 to replace and install the box.
It should be restored by early next week.
In the meantime, voters are encouraged to place their voted ballots in the mail or return their ballots at another drop box. The nearest ballot drop boxes to Mill Creek are at McCollum Park, 600 128th St. SE, Everett; Ash Way Park and Ride, 16327 Ash Way, Lynnwood; the Glacier Peak High School parking lot, 7401 144th Place SE, Snohomish; or the QFC parking lot, 22833 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell.
Washington state has been experiencing a record early turnout for the the Nov. 3 general election. As of Friday afternoon, 37.7% of ballots had been returned statewide and 33.1% in Snohomish County.