Elections Department offers tips for voters dealing with stuck envelopes

The following is a release from King County Elections:

Voters who get their ballots in early not only help the Elections Department process faster, they also help identify any unusual issues during an election. About 260 voters contacted Elections during the first week of voting to alert the department that some ballot return envelopes were already sealed shut.

“We’re grateful that our voters let us know early about this problem and called us for instructions so they could get their ballots in,” said Sherril Huff, King County Elections Director. “Excessive heat or rain may have played a role in this, but we also learned that one of our vendors used a new sealant on the envelopes that likely contributed to the problem.”

Voters should carefully open the envelope or, if needed, slit the envelope open on the top. Then use a small amount of tape to reseal the envelope. If the envelope is damaged, voters may download and print a replacement envelope. Voters may also call Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683) with questions or concerns.

A handful of voters have also complained about the taste of the sealant on the envelopes. To avoid tasting the sealant, the Elections Department advised voters to use a moist sponge instead of licking the envelope, or use a small amount of tape if needed.

King County Elections has already taken steps to ensure that the envelopes for the next election will use a different sealant to avoid further problems.

King County Elections sent more than 1,175,000 ballots to voters for the primary election. To date, over 100,000 voters have returned ballots. The turnout forecast is 38 percent.

Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 5 or returned to a ballot drop box location or Accessible Voting Center by 8 p.m. on election day.


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