Hand-canceling would rectify late ballot problem

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A hundred or more Grant County voters in all 988-prefixed zip codes were disenfranchised because their ballots were postmarked after Nov. 7. County and state election officials recognize this problem, as apparently some, if not many, ballots were mailed on Nov. 7; since these local ballots went to the Wenatchee postal processing center, they apparently were postmarked after the 7th.

This unintentional disenfranchisement punishes many people throughout the state. People believe that if they mail their ballot on Election Day, it will be counted. Many people evidently do not know that their mail is sent to a regional processing center, which may mean that it could be postmarked one or two days later.

The Washington State Elections Conference in 2016 made three recommendations, that voters:

1) mail their ballot five to seven days before Election Day;

2) use local drop boxes before pickup time or

3) if pickup time has passed, ask postal employees to hand cancel the ballots to insure they are counted.

There is another remedy: the Post Office supervisor for each regional facility center can allow post offices, regardless of size, to hand-cancel mail for special occasions. Election Day is one such special occasion that warrants hand cancellation of all ballots mailed that day from any mail box or at any post office. No one would be penalized for mailing a ballot on Election Day.

Every ballot mailed on time would count. There would be no disenfranchisement. Just as it should be.

Duane Pitts

Moses Lake

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