Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

What is the deadline for absentee ballots?

By what date must an absentee ballot be received by the county auditor in order to be included in the election returns?

The Revised Code of Washington and the Washington Administrative Code aren’t consistent.

According to RCW 29A.60.190, each absentee ballot “with a postmark on or before the date of the...election...and received on or before the date on which the...election is certified must be included in the canvass report.”

But, the administrative regulation stated in WAC 434-240-240 says ballots must be received by the auditor’s office “not later than the day prior to certification.”

For the last general election, did all county auditors follow the administrative regulation and reject absentee ballots received after November 16; or did some accept ballots received on the date of certification, i.e., November 17?

Is there any reason why the administrative regulation states a deadline that is earlier than the deadline set by the legislature?

Is such a regulation a lawful exercise of the Secretary of State’s rule making authority?

If so, what other statutes can the Secretary of State nullify?


Blogger Sammler said...

Good questions. It's worth noticing that flexibility in timing is a powerful tool for election officials to change the outcome. I have elaborated on this empowerment here.

April 11, 2005 5:23 AM  

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