PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County auditor will no longer verbally announce election results at the courthouse on election night.
The shift comes after a change in state law that made it possible for residents to register and vote on the same day up to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
The results of the elections will still be published online at 8 p.m., but Auditor Rose Ann Carroll and her staff will no longer announce the results verbally to avoid possibly influencing voters who might still be in line to vote at the courthouse.
With the change to state law, there could possibly be a line of people needing to vote in the Auditor’s Office, who lined up before the 8 p.m. deadline.
This puts the auditor’s office at a disadvantage because it is unlawful to reveal election results to someone who is about to vote, Carroll said.
The Auditor’s Office notified voters Oct. 11 through email, Carroll said.
Sound travels very well through the courthouse hallways, and Carroll said she feels there is no way to safely isolate voters from hearing the announcement in the building.
“We’ve done everything we can except build another building,” Carroll said.
“I’m sorry it turned out this way.
“We have to have a concise procedure.”
Carroll and her team plan to help residents tonight if they are in line by the 8 p.m. deadline. After that their lines are closed to more people.
“We could have a line of people waiting and if they’re in our office by 8 p.m. election night, then they’re all going to get served,” Betty Johnson, Jefferson County election coordinator said.
“We can’t announce the results while people are waiting to vote their ballot.
“It wasn’t a choice, it was a necessity for the new law change about same-day registration.”
Jefferson County election results can be viewed at tinyurl.com/PDN-ElectionResults and here on our website.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].