Kittitas County Auditor and USPS assure ballots will be counted on time

Jessica Perez, News Director

Even though a Washington State judge blocked further changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS) until after the presidential election, some people are still concerned about whether their ballot will be counted on time.

Spokesman for the USPS, Ernie Swanson, believes the post office has the ability to deliver ballots on time.

“I’m very confident that the postal service will be able to distribute the ballots and then get them back in the hands of the election officials in a very timely manner,” Swanson said. 

According to Swanson, the USPS works very closely with election officials to make sure everything goes smoothly.

“We have a number of meetings prior to all general elections, like the one coming up, to discuss all the details, to make sure everything is in line,” Swanson said.

USPS accidentally sent out a postcard to Washington state residents saying voters have to request their ballot before election day. This was a mistake made by the post office, it was intended to go out in states where voters do have to request mail in ballots.

In Washington, registered voters will automatically receive their ballots in the mail before election day.

Swanson said he was slightly worried about some confusion when they sent this out but he believes the state as a whole responded well by letting people know this was a mistake quickly. 

In Kittitas County ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 13. Voters should start receiving them by Oct. 15. 

Kittitas County Auditor Jerry Pettit also wants to assure everyone that ballots will be counted on time because the post office has experience with mail in voting.

“We’ve been doing this for over 10 years,” Pettit said. “We’ve got this. The post office? They got this.”

Pettit added that if people still feel uneasy about voting by mail, they can leave their ballot in one of the various drop boxes in town. He picks those ballots up directly so voters can feel at ease knowing they’re in the right hands.

Once a ballot has been mailed in, people can also check the status of the ballot. If someone is unsure whether their ballot has been counted, they can check and call the auditor’s office if it hasn’t.

Marlene Pfeifer chairman of the Kittitas County Republican Party said she felt concerned about voting by mail because the system is not perfect. 

“I had a lot of people during the primary say they never got a ballot,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer also said a woman came into her office who picks her mail up at the post office once a week and all her fundraiser mail from Donald Trump had been opened and scribbled on. 

“I don’t know what that would benefit… but that’s concerning to me,” Pfeifer said. 

Steve Verhey chair of the Kittitas County Democratic Party said he hasn’t noticed a change in the speed of local mail so he doesn’t think there will be an impact.

“I send the mail and then I write down the date that I sent the mail and then I write down the date when I receive the mail,” Verhey said. “It hasn’t changed in the last couple months. So, I don’t think it’s gonna be much of an effect in our local area.”