Officials send out ballots for Aug. 21 primary
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:33 PM
MARYSVILLE The Aug. 21 primary election is seven weeks earlier this year due to a change in state law and elections officials are urging voters to pay attention.
Changes in state laws were made to give voters and election administrators more time to vote and to verify ballots and certify elections results, and so primaries that usually occurred in late September will happen much sooner. Many families might be on vacation or out of town, but since ballots were mailed starting Aug. 3 most voters should have plenty of time, if they think ahead.
This is the first August primary and Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Diepenbrock said her office hasnt heard anything different from voters yet, but added, I think the only time voters will start thinking about things is on Friday, when they get their ballot.
There will be 29 community collection centers around the county where voters can drop off their ballots, and those include 10 disabled access voting sites where handicapped people can vote using special machines adapted for their use. Able-bodied voters would not be turned away from those centers if they wished to vote, but otherwise this election is mail-in only. Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 21.
Diepenbrocks advice to voters, When voters go on vacation, take your sunscreen and your ballot, she said.
Where the ballot is post-marked it not a consideration, as ballots are mailed to military personnel serving overseas and ex-pats traveling the world or sunbirds wintering in warmer climates, according to Diepenbrock.
The disabled voter accessible stations are a new feature this year and will feature screens with larger, easily readable fonts, audio ballots, and even a sip and puff feature for voters who are paralyzed or have mobility problems. The mouth-controlled controller allows the voters to have privacy while they make their ballot choices.
These arent meant for able-bodied folks, but Diepenbrock said that if an able-bodied voter wanted to vote by hand, elections workers wouldnt interfere and stop them.
They may if they want to use them, Diepenbrock said. Were really trying to reach out to disabled community, not the able-bodied community.
The 10 disabled accessible locations in the county are all in branches of the Sno-Isle Library system and the partnership has worked just fine, according to Diepenbrock, who said the libraries asked to host the voting centers. Libraries are built to ADA standards, are located on transit routes and the individual branches were more than happy to adjust their hours to accommodate voters and polling times, she said.
Community Collection Centers and Disabled Access Voting Sites
Community Collection Centers
146 Haller St. East
3617 172nd Ave. NE
105 Fourth St.
3701 88th Street NE
Disabled Access Voting Sites
6120 Grove St.
Community Collection Centers accept voted mail-in ballots only during hours of operation.
Disabled Access Voting Sites accept voted mail-in ballots and allows voters to vote on the electronic voting machines only during hours of operation.
Hours of operation for all
Aug. 16 2-8 p.m.
Aug. 17 2-8 p.m.
Aug. 18 2-8 p.m.
Aug. 20 2-8 p.m.
Aug. 21 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.