Jefferson County ballot accidentally asks voters to pick a president of the Untied States

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County voters are casting their ballots for “President/Vice President of the Untied States.”

“Yes, it's a typo,” lamented County Auditor Donna Eldridge.

Eldridge and her staff didn't notice the mistake until it was brought to her attention Tuesday by the Peninsula Daily News, which had been alerted by a Port Townsend voter earlier in the day.

The mistake appears on 22,596 ballots that were sent out to voters last Wednesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 2,901 had been returned in the all-mail election that ends at 8 p.m. Nov. 6.

“We went over this several times with five staff members, but somehow this one got through,” Eldridge said.

Proofreading is done by teams, with one reading ballot language to the other.

Eldridge said the mistake will not cause confusion or affect the voting process since, as “with many words, it doesn't matter as long as you have the first letters and the last letters spelled right, people know what you mean.”

Eldridge doesn't think this is the worst ballot mistake to originate from her office.

That distinction is earned by the misspelling of the word “superintendent” for the office of superintendent of public instruction a few years ago.

Then there was the time when a Superior Court judge race was omitted from the ballot.

Eldridge said no one had alerted her to this year's misspelling but heard from voters who thought the president's race was not included on the ballot.

That confusion resulted from state law that requires initiatives to be listed first on the ballot.

Many voters think that the president's race is the most important contest and should be listed first.

“I'm glad you brought this to us on a Tuesday instead of a Friday,” she said, “because it would have ruined our weekend.”

“This way, we can just think about it a bit and say, 'Hey, we're human.'”



Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 23. 2012 6:25PM
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