The Associated Press statehouse bureau just filed the story below. The governor’s call to speed up voting may resonate in Pierce County, where it’s taken days of ballot counting for Marilyn Strickland to emerge as Tacoma’s new mayor.
My home state of Oregon, which pioneered mail voting, had a rule that ballots had to be received by election day – either mailed early or dropped off. Making such a transition would be difficult for many voters here, I’d think. Many people like to hold onto their ballots as long as possible.
Gov. Chris Gregoire says she’d like to see an earlier ballot return deadline for the state’s mail-in voters.
Gregoire pointed to the Seattle mayor’s race, which on Monday was still too close to call almost a week after the election. She says there needs to be a better way of “making sure that on election night we have as many votes counted as we possibly can.”
Under the state’s election system, ballots count if they’re mailed as late as midnight on Election Day, a system that usually leaves about half of the vote outstanding at the end of election night.
UPDATE: Jason Mercier at the Washington Policy Center sent me his blog post on the subject last week. He points out that Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming all require absentee ballots to be returned by election day and North Carolina require them back by 5 p.m. the day before.