Clallam primary ballots missing commissioner party preferences

PORT ANGELES — Ballots for the Sequim area Clallam County commission set primary election race were sent to voters without information relating to the candidates’ party preferences, Clallam County Auditor Shoona Riggs said.

The auditor’s office mailed a notice to all voters in Clallam County Commissioner District No. 1 (Sequim) providing the party preference information as it should have been stated on the ballot, Riggs said in a press release issued Tuesday.

The race features incumbent Democrat Mark Ozias and Republican challenger Brandon Janisse. Both of the candidate names appear on the ballot but do not include their party preferences.

Prior to sending the notice, Riggs said, she and auditor’s office staff met with the candidates and representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties. Because ballot processing has already begun, the office would not send out updated ballots.

“It was agreed that sending a notice to voters was the best course of action to address this unfortunate error,” Riggs said.

Riggs said the statewide voter registration system was updated to the VoteWA system in June.

“Due to this change, the Clallam County election tabulation system had to be reprogrammed after initial ballot proofing had taken place,” Riggs said.

“While the initial ballot had the party preference information included on the proofs, the information was lost during the reprogramming stage. The loss of this information was not caught during the final proofing of the ballot.

The auditor regrets this failure to fully proof the ballot and sincerely apologizes.

To guard against similar oversights in the future, Riggs said, the Election Division will have a team meeting to revise election practices and update policies and procedures.

Additionally — and in advance of the next ballot proofing process — Riggs said she will meet with the Election Division and review the step-by-step process.

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