Clallam County ‘pick a party’ ballots invalidated more than elsewhere in state; Jefferson reporting few problems

Clallam County voters upset with the state’s primary system, or who simply don’t understand it, are beating their fellow residents across the state at getting their ballots disqualified.

An estimated 8 percent of ballots statewide will not be counted toward partisan races, state Secretary of State Sam Reed said last week.

Clallam County single-sheet consolidated ballot had more than twice that — some 17 percent.

Jefferson County’s problem ballots — there were separate ones for each party plus a nonpartisan ballot — were less than 1 percent earlier in the week.

In August, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate Washington’s “top two” primary system — where voters pick their favorite candidates for each office, regardless of party.

Reed said that even though voters already had to vote by party in the 2004 election, many are still angry about it.

While there was widespread advertising before the 2004 election to educate voters, this year there was not, though there were clear directions mailed with every ballot.

“We really can’t have this happen again,” Reed said.

“We’re fortunate most of the partisan races around the state had a good margin, but a few are neck-and-neck.”

The lost ballots could have made a difference, he said.

By PDN and AP

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