King County Elections has issued a couple of FAQs answering questions that have been raised about its handling of the Nov. 2 election and the subsequent recounts. The first regards Military and Overseas Ballots:
King County Elections began mailing oversea and military ballots for the General Election on Oct.1, 2004. These were from an absentee category referred to as “submarine” or “special absentee ballots” for voters who may not be able to receive a regular absentee ballot within the timeframe necessary to participate in the election. The bulk of the military and overseas ballots were mailed on Oct.6 with some mailings in between these two dates and subsequent mailings as further requests were received.
246 ballots went out on Oct. 1, the bulk were mailed by Oct. 6, and an additional 3055 went out on Oct. 10. KC issued 15,289 military and overseas ballots in all, and of these, 12,694 were received back… exactly matching King County’s overall 83% turnout rate.
In addition to regular absentee ballots available to military personnel, King County also provided ballots via fax or email to those who contacted the office that they had not received their regular ballot by election day. Several hundred of these were issued. In addition…
The Federal Voting Assistance Program, a program of the United States Department of Defense monitors services for military and overseas voters. Under federal law, a federal write-in ballot is also available from armed services voting assistance officers to allow service members the opportunity to cast a ballot for federal office. These ballots are accepted and counted even if the service member is not listed as a registered voter in the jurisdiction where they indicate their residence.
1,342 Federal Write-in ballots received, and 1,081 validated and counted.
As to the oft raised question of military and overseas ballots that were received too late to be counted, King County reports a grand total of… sixteen.
The Washington State GOP is now running a deceptive and dishonest radio ad, featuring a wounded marine who did not receive his ballot on time. While this is regrettable, and both parties should work together to assure that military ballots are mailed out even sooner, it is despicable to attempt to turn this into a partisan issue, when all the facts indicate that King County conscientiously issued military ballots in a timely manner, and in full accordance with federal law.
Dino Rossi’s PR henchmen continue to cynically impugn Christine Gregoire’s patriotism, but as part of a legal contest of this election, military ballots are clearly a non-issue.
Coming soon, much ado over voter lists…