Elections, Government, Washington County

Errors printed on Washington County ballots muddle ballot impact text

One of the ballot measures showing the error. Photo: Chas Hundley

Another set of errors by the Washington County Elections department has been discovered in election materials, this time in the form of random “yes” and “no” statements placed in the explanation text of four statewide measures on the ballot. 

According to Washington County Election Manager Mickie Kawai, the explanation text in the “results of” section for each of the four state measures on the ballot, measures 107, 108, 109, and 110, were littered with the words “yes” and “no,” in an error apparently caused when the text from a .pdf file was converted, copied and pasted into the software used by the county to design the layout of the ballot. 

When the time came to proof the ballots, the errors were not caught, the second time this month that an error has not been caught in the proofing stage during this election cycle. 

The ballots were sent to the county’s 384,569 registered voters. 

A .pdf showing the errors and correct wording can be found here.

“We will be reviewing our proofing procedures and will seek advice from other counties and other states as to their proofreading actions in an effort to create a system that will prevent errors like this in the future,” Kawai said.

“A different mix of people in the Elections Office are involved in developing both the Voters’ Pamphlet and the ballots,” said county spokesperson Philip Bransford in an email to the Banks Post/Gales Creek Journal. “But these are the two products that result from different processes. Both of these processes can be very complicated, depending on the number of races and measures involved in each election,” he said.

Help us increase our 2020 election coverage with a digital subscription, featuring a $10 discount now through November 3 for an annual subscription. Monthly plans are $8/month. Click here to start

According to the county, the office of the Oregon Secretary of State has told the county that the actual ovals voters fill in to indicate their vote are all correct and will be counted normally, and that those seeking more information on the actual ballot measures should read the summary of each ballot measure included in the envelope containing a ballot, or review the voters’ guide

The ballot errors follow a snafu that saw an entire ballot measure and the submitted arguments in favor of the measure for the city of Sherwood dropped entirely from the county voters’ pamphlet. 

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

Sign up for Banks area news in your inbox ↓

The groceries your family needs!