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February 21, 2019

Storm didn't change outcome, but late ballot numbers were high

PORT ORCHARD - The winter storm that hit Kitsap County had no impact on the pass or fail question for any measure on the February 12 Special Election ballot. However, the number of ballots that were not counted because they were postmarked too late was much higher than usual.

Overall turnout for the Special Election is expected to be around 33.7 percent once the election is certified on Friday, slightly higher than turnout for the Special Election in February 2018.

Not counted in this election because of late postmarks, though, were 825 ballots out of the about 30,600 returned, about 2.7 percent. By contrast, For the February 13, 2018, Special Election, there were 70 ballots postmarked after election day out of the about 19,400 ballots received, less than four-tenths of 1 percent.

Even if all the February 2019 Special Election ballots postmarked late had been “no” votes, each measure still would have passed.

“While we’re glad the weather appears to have had no impact on the overall results, we know our residents take their votes seriously and expect them to be counted,” said Paul Andrews, Kitsap County Auditor. “This election can be a good reminder to encourage all of us to return our ballots soon after we receive them.”

Ballots are mailed at least 18 days before each Election Day. Voters can mark and return ballots from the moment they receive them, by mail or in one of the 22 ballot drop boxes located throughout the county.

Washington law requires that ballots returned by mail be postmarked by election day or sooner. The limited exceptions for that are for military and overseas voters. The county elections division regularly advises voters that if they are mailing ballots to do so well in advance of election day to be sure the ballot is postmarked on time, or to request the ballot be stamped by hand by a postal worker at a post office.

Voters who have questions about their ballots or any election issue are invited to call Kitsap County Elections at 360-337-7128.