Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Washington to shift to all vote-by-mail elections

Post by Katie Schmidt on April 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm with 22 Comments »
April 5, 2011 2:08 pm

Polling places are officially a thing of the past in Pierce County.

Under Senate Bill 5124, which Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Tuesday, Washington will move to an entirely vote-by-mail system, a move supporters say will add clarity to state law and save money, but opponents say robs Pierce County of its right to choose in-person voting.

“It’s a good day,” said Rep. Sam Hunt, who has sponsored legislation to move Washington to an entirely vote-by-mail system every year since 2008. “This will give us one uniform voting system in the state.”

The bill, which goes into effect in July, replaces a 2005 law that allowed Washington counties to choose to vote by mail or offer both mail-in ballots and polling places. Pierce County is the only one that held on to polling places until now.

Pierce County auditor Julie Anderson said the new law means voters in the county will vote entirely by mail for the first time this fall, and they’ll receive notifications in the mail about how the new system will work soon.

All in all, though, Anderson said it isn’t a big change for the county because 89 percent of ballots cast in Pierce County in the 2010 election were mailed in.

“It’s a nice confirmation of what is already in effect,” said Anderson.

The Pierce County Council has resisted proposals to shift to all-mail voting in the past, though, and Roger Bush, the council chairman, was disappointed with the Legislature’s decision to pass the bill.

His assistant, Karen Castillo, said Bush was unavailable for comment, but he left a statement with her saying that he thought it was hypocritical of democratic state legislators preach free choice and then take it away because Pierce County decided to keep a system they didn’t like.

Castillo said, though, that Bush was glad the proposal would save about $80,000 for the county in the coming year, and he hoped to put that money toward park maintenance.

To help people transition to the new system, Anderson said her office was planning to set up about five voting service centers throughout the county where people could come to get replacement ballots or drop their ballots off in person. She said she hasn’t decided yet where the centers will be located.

Washington will be the second state in the nation to adopt an all vote-by-mail system. Oregon did so in 1998.


Leave a comment Comments → 22
  1. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    So, now that voters won’t have the option of taking their mail-in ballot to a polling place to drop it off, does that mean the county will start picking up the tab for postage? If not, that seems a little bit like a poll tax.

  2. Pat_riot says:

    Let the fraud begin!!! Why even vote now, we know who’s going to win every close election from now on…

  3. Hefeweisen says:

    I wonder where a person who has otherwise been a good citizen and fallen on hard times and is now homeless, where will he or she vote if they have no “mailing” address, yet alone a physical address? Or is this just another little right that our Governor has taken away. I’d like to hear from the County Auditors, can a homeless person vote in person at the County Auditor’s Office?

  4. Soundlife says:

    Now we leave it up to the corrupt officials to “verify our signatures.”
    With King county recently passing Chicago as having the most dead people voting in elections, what a future we now face…

  5. dbreneman says:

    “ ‘It’s a good day,’ said Rep. Sam Hunt…”

    I’m glad Mr. Hunt is having a good day. Most tyrants consider it a good day when they can consolidate their power. County Council Chairman Bush is correct. It’s rank hypocrisy on the part of the Legislature. I would suggest that all voters shoulder the expense of sending their ballots in via certified mail with a return receipt. It’s only about $5, and it will require a lot more work to process the ballots, as each one will need to be signed for. Let the economizing begin!

  6. Troygrad_2011 says:

    It’s a good day for the fraudsters we call the Democratic Party of Washington State. Along with that waste of human space we call Sam Reid the Secretary of State. He will not be getting my vote any time soon.

  7. “Mail in voting” is another means to perpetuate voter fraud.
    Unless an valid ID is a condition of voting we will have Illegals voting. That appears to be the motivation for this move.
    How can the citizens of this state be comfortable in accepting the results of any election?
    It is not an economic issue but it will insure that Washingtonians pay a price in a further tainted government. One more step in becoming a fully accredited banana republic. There will be no means to insure the integrity of the voting system and what is truly unfortunate,is that understanding this,the legislators that pushed this did so knowing what the outcome would be.

  8. fivecardstud says:

    I don’t see where it makes a difference. Whether in a booth or in a mail box. It’s still only one vote per person and look at the gas you’ll save plus the pollution that won’t happen from cars being driven to and from. The only difference I see is the BS sessions that occur but we have the comments section for that. It can be defrauded either way just as easy. Stay home and bake a nice pie with WA. ST. Apples. Just think how happy the Apple Growers Assn. will be.

  9. fivecardstud says:

    Remember good citizens. You voted that……….woman into office.

  10. I trust mail-in voting a whole lot better than walking into a church and casting my vote in “private”. That’s where the voter fraud is!

  11. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Start the Voter Fraud planning!! If you ever wondered why that unsigned envelope containing your vote is submitted in the signed envelope, it is to facilitate making elections come out the way those in control want them to come out!

  12. Pig = take the tin foil off your head and research the way your vote is handled in Pierce County. If you can’t manage that – call and ask to have it explained to you. It’s not like the Wizard of Oz is behind a curtain with a sharpie, ready to change everyone’s vote!

  13. rusirius says:

    republicans are such hypocrites. voter fraud, blah… blah… blah. meantime, email voting for military passes and NO complaints about fraud. why? because

    a) republicans are hypocrites
    b) republicans believe all military personnel vote republican so whatever can be done to “help” them vote is good
    c) being against vote by mail is all about republicans suppressing the poor’s ability to vote
    d) all the above

    answer : D

  14. ttown508 says:

    There are drop boxes throughout the County where people can drop their ballot and get this, it is FREE. Now the majority rules and the tax payers save thousands of dollars a year so some one can walk in and vote. If you ignorant people that have asked questions in your comments can get on the internet to make a comment, go to -www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/aud/, it is all there.
    At least we won’t see Roger “Freedom” Bush on the ballot again!!

  15. truthbusterguy says:

    Julie Anderson is in with Democrats to help illeagal’s vote. She signs up voters and doesn’t verify anything. The legislature won’t fix this problem. The answer is I-1122.

    Please help by signing this petition.


  16. “trust mail-in voting a whole lot better than walking into a church and casting my vote in “private”. That’s where the voter fraud is!”

    Let me get this straight….you use the issue of illegal voting to inject an anti-religious commentary.I think you confused these forum with the Huffington Post it thrives on convoluted comments…..

  17. sheyingshi says:

    100% mail in balloting is working well for the rest of the state, and as a matter of fact for the majority of Pierce Cty also. So stop your whining and get on with your life.

  18. “100% mail in balloting is working well for the rest of the state, and as a matter of fact for the majority of Pierce Cty also. So stop your whining and get on with your life.”

    Translation from Liberal Speak:
    ” It is working well”= nobody has been caught yet because the system is controlled by a Democrat

    “Stop your whining”= don’t complain because Democrats control the Legislature and don’t have to pay attention to anyone.

  19. I think it’s rather a sad day to see all voting go to mail in ballots. I will miss the sense of community and of participation that I got from a physical polling place.

  20. I’m sad because I was one of the workers manning the polling station. I had fun greeting and meeting people. The extra few dollars I earned helped make ends meet, but now that’s gone. I also feel bad for the older folks I had the pleasure of working with who had been doing it longer than me. It’s just sad.

  21. intheblack says:

    Amazing! The negativity and dispair in all these postings – no wonder we are where we are right now. If just half these people would put some positive energy into the community as opposed to tearing it down with words and conspiracy theories, we would be in a much better place.
    For everyone so worried about the officials “rigging the system,” why don’t you volunteer to be an election observer and see what actually goes on as opposed to sitting in front of your computer or TV and speculating. Better yet, why don’t you tutor a child, help them learn to read (it’s easier to keep’em down if they’re illiterate I suppose), do math or help to teach them civics.
    As for the person who commented with “You voted that . . . woman into office,” yes I did and I put a lot of faith in women as leaders. . .

  22. Elections are safe and secure in Pierce County and Washington state. Many safeguards are in place to protect the integrity of each election.

    Yes, a voter who is homeless can vote in-person in the County Auditor’s Office. Voter Service Centers will also be available for in-person voting. Ballots are mailed to voter’s home addresses or to a mailing address provided by the voter.

    Mike Rooney
    Pierce County Elections Manager

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0