Some Island County ballots delayed

CAMANO ISLAND — Jennifer Caceres knew something was up when only four election ballots arrived by mail last Saturday.

The thing is, there are five registered voters in her household on Camano Island.

“I hate this mail-in thing,” Caceres said. “I see so many opportunities for problems.”

The problem last week was that some ballots were taken out of a mail-delivery routing sequence, which resulted in a long delay in getting them to their intended addresses, Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider said.

The auditor’s office in Coupeville mailed 43,244 ballots on Oct. 14, Crider said.

Those ballots all were in set order for delivery, but at the U.S. Postal Service processing center in Everett something happened, the auditor said.

Most likely, the ballots were mixed in with the heavy amount of mail resulting from the Columbus Day postal holiday on Monday, Oct. 13, Crider said.

“When the ballots were delivered, there was a huge amount of mail to be processed. So a whole bunch of ballots were sent out to Island County out of order and then returned to the processing center,” Crider said. “A lot of people became concerned when a spouse, for example, got a ballot and they did not.”

The problem has happened before, Crider said, and it wasn’t isolated to Island County. Ballots in Chelan and Pierce counties were delayed because of problems at postal processing centers there, she said.

The Island County Auditor’s Office began issuing replacement ballots on Wednesday. Those who still have not received a ballot in the mail are urged to let the auditor’s election office know as soon as possible, Crider said.

At the Caceres house on Camano Island, the fifth ballot arrived on Wednesday.

Now Jennifer and her husband Fernando and their sons Fernando, Raul and Brent can all vote in the general election.

Still, Jennifer Caceres isn’t happy about mail-in ballots.

“I used to love going to my polling place and punching my ballot,” she said. “It made me feel like I was really doing something.”

Reporter Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427 or gfiege@heraldnet.com.

No ballot?

If you did not get a ballot from the Island County auditor’s elections office this week, call the office at 360-679-7366 or e-mail elections@co.island.wa.us.

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