Thousands of Lake Stevens voters get wrong pamphlets

LAKE STEVENS — Thousands of voters received the wrong information pamphlets with their ballots this weekend.

The Snohomish County Auditor’s Office is working to get the correct pamphlets sent out. The exact number of voters affected was not immediately known, but the company that printed the pamphlets estimates about 27,000, Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel said.

Ballots for the Feb. 14 special election were mailed to voters in the Lake Stevens, Granite Falls and the Stanwood-Camano school districts last week. Most arrived in mailboxes Saturday.

Lake Stevens voters are being asked to form a capital facility area that would be taxed to pay for a new library and to approve a $17 million bond for construction.

The other two issues in front of Snohomish County voters are school construction bonds in Granite Falls and Stanwood-Camano.

Voters within the boundaries of the proposed Lake Stevens Library Capital Facility Area got the correct ballot but the wrong voter guide. Instead of information about library measures, they got a pamphlet about the Granite Falls school bond.

“We do know that they got the wrong information,” Weikel said. “We will be sending them correct information. They should be receiving that information within the next day or two.”

Voter pamphlets typically include short statements explaining measures on the ballot as well as statements submitted in favor of and against the proposals. The front of the pamphlets for the library and school measures in this election have a simple image of a building labeled either “library” or “school.”

The auditor’s office and Sno-Isle Libraries have been contacted by voters who received the wrong pamphlets.

Weikel said her office got in touch with the printer and mailing company to find out how widespread the problem was. They learned that there was a mix-up with the bar codes that are read by printing and sorting machines, so the wrong pamphlets were packaged with the Lake Stevens ballots.

“We are of course disappointed that this unfortunate error may cause confusion for some voters on an issue that many have waited for years to see on a ballot,” Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said in a written statement Monday. “I’m heartened by the quick action of Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel and her team to immediately send the correct information to all Lake Stevens-area voters so they may make informed decisions about their community.”

Weikel does not expect that printing and sending out the correct pamphlets will cost the county extra.

“Unfortunately, these things do happen,” she said. “Our focus is to get it fixed. Then, when it’s fixed, we can look at exactly what happened and where the financial responsibility should be.”

Information about all measures on the ballot in Snohomish County is available online at snohomishcountywa.gov/224/Elections-Voter-Registration.

The Lake Stevens voter pamphlets should be in envelopes that look like those the ballots were sent in, and there will be an “Important” label on the front, Weikel said.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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