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Oops. Washington Secretary of State Website Lists Wrong Election Day Date

The error appeared for King County voters looking for drop box locations.

By Michael Rietmulder November 7, 2017

drop-box-crop

Some King County voters may have done a double take before submitting their ballots this year. The website for Washington’s Secretary of State incorrectly listed Election Day as Nov. 8 instead of today, Nov. 7.

The error appeared for King County voters using the website to search for ballot drop boxes. On Tuesday, a Twitter user alerted the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees Washington elections, to the issue and it was corrected “within minutes” after they learned of it, says Erich Ebel, communications director for Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

To be counted, ballots must be received in the drop boxes or postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The issue stemmed from an outdated file the office’s website management system was drawing the date from. Instead of showing this year’s correct Nov. 7 date, it was using last year’s date. The date was listed correctly in other more prominent places on the Secretary of State’s website and on the ballots themselves.

“This isn’t like the front page of our website,” Ebel says. “To be honest, it’s a place on our website that’s quite difficult to get to.”

While Ebel is unsure how long the incorrect date was listed, he notes that fewer than 1,000 people likely visited the page.

About half of King County ballots in the August primary and last year’s election were cast via the drop boxes, according to the Seattle Times. Ebel says there is no way to accommodate voters who may have been confused by the error. However, they will evaluate their internal processes to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.

“When citizens find something that’s incorrect I’m glad that they take the time and opportunity to point it out to us,” Ebel says. “Nobody’s perfect. No system is perfect. So, when mistakes do happen it’s nice to have people paying attention.”

 

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