King County executive, elections director come to West Seattle with a warning

November 4, 2012 at 1:06 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 39 Comments

The staff of the King County Elections ballot-dropoff van at West Seattle Stadium (wearing orange aprons) has had a busy day already. Not only have dozens of ballots been dropped off …

… but as you can see in the top photo, they also have had a visit from their boss, County Elections Director Sherril Huff (at right in the photo above) and King County Executive Dow Constantine. He and Huff summoned media to the dropoff van to use it as a backdrop for a two-part warning: First, they warned, they strongly urge voters to only use the U.S. Mail or King County Elections facilities (dropboxes, vans, etc.) to get their ballot in. Second, they warned, if anyone takes a ballot from someone else and does not get it to the county – that’s a crime.

While they were careful not to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, they also acknowledged this comes in the wake of the King County Republican Party announcing it will have its own ballot-dropoff vans in some areas, and word that there may be some door-to-door ballot-collection efforts going on (the county does NOT have anyone doing that). The GOP has said it is trying to help in areas of the county where there are no dropboxes or vans. We and other media asked the county officials today if they would be re-evaluating their policies regarding placement of those boxes and vans; Huff said no. Meantime, in West Seattle, the county van will be at the stadium till 5 pm today, again 10 am-5 pm tomorrow, and 7 am-8 pm on Tuesday (Election Day). Huff warned that post offices do not routinely postmark late at night, so if you are waiting till the last minute, don’t expect you can put your ballot in a mailbox Tuesday night and have it count.

ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: In case you’re interested – our unedited video of today’s event:

Find the list of county dropoff boxes/vans by going here.

39 Comments

  1. It’s a technicality, but just to be clear: the King County Elections Director is a separately elected position (like the sheriff or prosecutor or assessor) so the Executive isn’t really her boss.

    Comment by Jay — 2:14 pm November 4, 2012 #

  2. So what this boils down to is that elections officials, without naming any names, were forced to clarify the correct procedures and to warn against illegal tactics in response to questionable actions by the Republican party. The GOP has no shame.

    Comment by Robert — 2:18 pm November 4, 2012 #

  3. Jay – So much for pithy writing. Sorry, will fix!

    Comment by WSB — 2:25 pm November 4, 2012 #

  4. Thanks for highlighting this. It’s a critical issue . . . the governor’s race in 2004 was won by the slimmest margin in U.S. history. This year’s governor’s race is again razor-close. If only 100-200 ballots from Democratic precincts were accidentally “lost” by ballot-gatherers from the GOP, that might well decide the election.

    Comment by K — 2:43 pm November 4, 2012 #

  5. I’ll give you .44 cents, mail your ballot.

    Comment by Vanessa — 2:53 pm November 4, 2012 #

  6. This is outrageous.
    .
    It’s a staged dog & pony show to perpetuate the lie that Republicans did something wrong without actually saying so.
    .
    Because if they said so, they would have to actually accuse someone of wrong doing, and there is no one to accuse.
    .
    Shame on the West Seattle blog for being in the pocket of Democrats and helping perpetuate their sleazy, dishonest insinuations.

    Comment by JoAnne — 3:25 pm November 4, 2012 #

  7. And it’s especially egregious in light of the fact that in 2004 King County Democrats won the gubernatorial election by “finding” huge bags of ballots on 4 different occasions.
    .
    After Rossi won in 3 different counts, they turned the election over and we ended up with more ballots than there were registers voters in King County.
    .

    Comment by JoAnne — 3:31 pm November 4, 2012 #

  8. JoAnne, I think it’s reasonable to be suspicious of either party offering to collect ballots. The fact that the West Seattle Blog is providing a service in clarifying how and where citizens can safely return their ballots is an important public service.

    Comment by Kelly — 3:36 pm November 4, 2012 #

  9. When I was a child, people voted in a neighbor’s garage. Then I went to NY and voted on machines where you had to flip levers (and could vote a straight ticket using one lever). When I returned to Seattle, the precincts had moved to the elementary schools for voting. Now Washington votes by mail….but that doesn’t really feel like voting to me, so I turned in my ballot to election workers at West Seattle Stadium. The human interaction makes it feel like I am really voting. Thanks King County Elections for making this possible.

    There is a good thing, however, about mail in ballots as my 91 year old aunt who is recovering from a heart attack was still able to fullfill her civic responsibility by using a mail in ballot.

    Comment by MAO — 3:36 pm November 4, 2012 #

  10. We’re not in anybody’s pocket, never have been, never will be. We don’t even accept freebies (our mail drop received a delivery of an unsolicited box of cupcakes meant for us, from a local bakery, this past week and we promptly marched it off to give to a nonprofit – we are really sticklers about not accepting anything). FWIW, this year 75 percent of the small amount of money we are getting from paid political advertising is from the Republicans. Anyway, this was a news conference called by two King County elected officials (both nonpartisan positions, though of course Executive Constantine is personally a Democrat and it appears that Huff has affiliated Democrat in the past as well) and covered by WSB, the Seattle Times, three TV stations, and a couple people who I didn’t recognize. The announcement went out to the usual media list very early this morning. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:39 pm November 4, 2012 #

  11. Joanne,
    Yes, it’s terrible after years of Republican complaints about voter fraud to hear that the only documented cases concern Republicans. Did you hear about the woman in Nevada who tried to vote at two separate polling places? Republican. Or the elections worker in Oregon who took ballots that had been submitted and fill in a straight Republican ticket anywhere the voter had left a blank? Republican. So I think it’s reasonable to be at least suspicious of any Republican who offers to turn in a ballot for you.

    Nice try on the Rossi thing, but a three-time loser is still a three-time loser.

    Comment by EMO — 3:55 pm November 4, 2012 #

  12. My son enjoyed handing in our ballot personally today (as seen in the picture above), even though he originally thought we were going to go give someone a boat, instead of a vote.

    Comment by dcn — 4:10 pm November 4, 2012 #

  13. Joanne- look at the Florida early election debacle. Repug Rick Scott refuses to extend voting hours while people wait in line chanting “we want to vote”. This is after he reduced early voting from 14 days to eight and purging millions of legitimate registered voters off the rolls. Why would republicans attempt to deny Americans the right to vote? because republicans know that democracy favors democrats.After Obama wins, the justice department will be sending some of your buddies to prison for violating our rights.

    Comment by treemendous — 4:43 pm November 4, 2012 #

  14. DCN – you made me laugh. That’s you guys? Cool! Patrick just realized a child was handing over a ballot and rushed in to join the fray.

    Comment by WSB — 5:00 pm November 4, 2012 #

  15. @EMO-
    Between Marcy Buhner and Del Bene (funny, same initials} there’s your three or more time loser…

    @WSB-
    Yes, you can sleep easy since you don’t accept any $$$ from either side… But the only political posts of any origin on WSB are about how wonderful the 34th Democrats are or how wonderful are our Representatives and Senators with the “D” postscript following their names.

    You are really nothing more than WSMSNBC…

    Comment by Danno — 5:13 pm November 4, 2012 #

  16. Last comment I’ll make because it’s easy for all this to veer into “yes you are/no I’m not” … We don’t call anyone wonderful. We do cover what happens. Pretty much without adjectives. What happens publicly around here is Democratic 95 percent of the time. The last public 34th District Republicans event we covered or even had advance notice about was the caucus early this year. If they posted meetings, etc., we would be happy to include them in our calendar and cover when they took up key topics. I still can’t find a 34th District Republicans website. Like it or not, the 34th DD’s have a website full of everything they are up to – what’s on the meeting agenda, small groups meeting between monthly meetings, etc. That said, though, we’ve missed the past couple 34th District Democrats meetings, because something else of higher priority was happening. When there isn’t, it’s a meeting with at least 100 people on hand and it’s news. I would LOVE to see the local Republicans be more visible – if there’s a website or FB page I’m missing showing what they’re up to, please let me know. Meantime, if you want to participate in political opinion discussion, there are opinionated people from multiple sides of the aisle in the part of this site where that happens almost around the clock – http://westseattleblog.com/forum

    Comment by WSB — 5:24 pm November 4, 2012 #

  17. I walked to the drop box from the Junction after the Farmers Market and put my ballot in the slot. I appreciate that the county has drop off sites prior to the election. I miss polling stations and wish we still had them — it seemed a piece of Americana. Do you think Norman Rockwell would immortalize voting by mail?

    Comment by JayDee — 5:32 pm November 4, 2012 #

  18. JayDee, I’m so with you there. I know objectively there are advantages to doing it this way but I don’t think I will ever stop being nostalgic for voting in person. We miss seeing the volunteers at our ex-polling place, Peace Lutheran, a few blocks away, and even the comedy (?) as we tried to remember which of the 10 or so precincts that voted there was ours! (“Is it 1562 or 1526?”) The dropoff-van folks are very pleasant so at least it’s a vaguely similar experience – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:40 pm November 4, 2012 #

  19. Please….Please….Please
    Can’t you just stop the silly partisan comments.
    Like little children … both sides.

    Give us a break.

    Comment by Orca — 5:43 pm November 4, 2012 #

  20. I’m so tired of the bickering and complaining.
    I am grateful we have a say. That we get to vote at all. That no one will come to my house and shoot me in the head for having a view.
    Mail your ballots or drop them off. We are lucky to get to do that.

    Comment by Lolaleah — 5:58 pm November 4, 2012 #

  21. My election 2012 haiku for the day:

    Parrots can repeat

    Opinions that are not facts

    Do your homework first

    Comment by sarah — 6:07 pm November 4, 2012 #

  22. When it will it show that my ballot was turned in? I tracked by using the link someone put on here but it still shows that I need to turn it in. I dropped it at the van yesterday.

    Comment by A — 6:47 pm November 4, 2012 #

  23. They said at today’s event they were quoting a time frame of at least a day and a half. We dropped ours off when we went over to take our first van photo at midday Friday; I just checked and the tracker shows mine has been received – while it did NOT show that as of very early this morning. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:55 pm November 4, 2012 #

  24. WSB,

    I suspect there are a lot of Republicans in W.Seattle, but they tend not to the types who plaster bumperstickers on their cars and are invisible in many ways.

    Having said that, yes, more visibility would help to dispel some of the misconceptions many might have have about Republicans and might spark some dialogue between folks on both sides of the aisle.

    Let’s have a little faith in each other, for pete’s sake.

    Comment by G — 7:00 pm November 4, 2012 #

  25. I saw a story on the news a couple nights ago about polling places in King County. I had no idea they still existed! But they do. Only a few though. While the mail-in ballot is so convenient, I do love voting on the machine. My ballot was already filled out and in the mail when I saw the story. Otherwise I may have done it strictly for nostalgia!
    Looks like there are four in King County, closest at Union Station.
    http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/voting/accessible.aspx

    Comment by ghar72 — 7:15 pm November 4, 2012 #

  26. Thanks WSB. I will keep checking.

    Comment by A — 7:18 pm November 4, 2012 #

  27. I am a registered Republican. The West Seattle Blog and their news is not partisan. If you think so, I ask you to keep reading. Other than the FORUM and people who can post on stories, the content is news oriented and not editorialized.

    Comment by HMC Rich — 9:07 pm November 4, 2012 #

  28. I was a mailman for 30 years. I picked up thousands of ballots. I never heard of an outside unit taking charge of anyone’s ballots. As a matter of fact I would think it raises more doubt then anything else.
    Politics have become nothing more then a football game. We need more war veterans in this country to appreciate the right to vote. Bring back the draft so more families share in the sacrifice.

    Comment by John1946 — 10:36 pm November 4, 2012 #

  29. I would not trust anyone who said he would deliver my ballot for me, even if he claimed to be a representative of the political party I favor. I call the police if anyone comes to my door and claims to represent a political party — there’s no reason to believe any little identification tab they might present; they’re just as likely to be casing homes for robbery. I resent no longer having polling places, and make it a point to drop my ballot off at a recognized ballot box on the actual day of election.

    Comment by Mike Flynn — 1:34 am November 5, 2012 #

  30. Aaahhh, the West Seattle Democratic Blog commenters raises their ugly heads once again.

    Comment by Rick — 4:57 am November 5, 2012 #

  31. Really- you call the police if someone comes to your door & claims to represent a political party– even if they have ID– wow!
    I remember way back when political candidates campaigned door- to-door. You always had the option of closing the door on them- but more often & more importantly you had the opportunity to discuss issues face to face! A few years ago Joe Fitzgibbon knocked on my door – It was a pleasure talking to him & I appreciated his effort .

    Comment by Anne — 7:36 am November 5, 2012 #

  32. WSB is definitely non-partisan, especially compared to the seattle times, as they chose to fund and publish their own Rob McKenna ad. jeez.

    we didn’t make it into the photos of the WSB story on the drop off, but (our car) made it onto the related story on KIRO 7. it captured our station wagon driving away as the woman dropped our ballots in the box. visual, recorded proof that our ballots were submitted. :)

    Comment by sam-c — 10:07 am November 5, 2012 #

  33. This ballot drop-off van is not new. This was also done during the primary. The GOP ballot-napping was not done in the primary. To suggest that King County, Executive Constantine, Director Huff, or somehow the Democratic Party are doing this only now is because of the news from over the weekend involving the GOP is absolutely ludicrous and shows a lack of a connection to reality.

    Comment by TJ — 10:14 am November 5, 2012 #

  34. G, first you complain that WSB doesn’t pay enough attention to Republicans, then you say that Republicans don’t favor calling attention to themselves. Make up your mind. How are they supposed to cover something if they can’t find out about it? Would it kill the 34th District Republicans to, I don’t know, let the local media know they still exist?

    Comment by datamuse — 3:53 pm November 5, 2012 #

  35. 2 days now and my ballot does not show as received… I will keep tracking. I dropped both mine and my husbands at the van Saturday.

    Comment by A — 5:30 pm November 5, 2012 #

  36. Obama – McKenna 2012!

    Comment by West Seattle — 8:00 pm November 5, 2012 #

  37. Actually, Datamuse, I was encouraging other Republicans themselves to be more visible and engage others in dialogue to dispel misconceptions, not criticizing WSB coverage.

    Comment by G — 11:59 pm November 5, 2012 #

  38. Dataamuse,

    Actually, I was encouraging fellow Republicans to be more visible in the hopes that it might dispel some of the suspicion and misconceptions some might have – not critizing WSB coverage. Whatever their personal views are, I think WSB makes a genunine effort to report all the news and to remain non-partisan.

    Comment by G — 7:05 am November 6, 2012 #

  39. I dropped our ballots off at this van Sat around noon and they still do not show as received. I am not happy about this at all.

    Comment by E — 9:00 am November 6, 2012 #

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