Auditor Explains Primary Ballot Snafu In Everett City Council District Races

July 1, 2021

Everett, Everett Government

With regard to City of Everett government offices in the August 3rd Primary, only the Mayor’s race and two of the five District races are on the ballot.

This week the Everett Districts Now Ad Hoc Committee revealed an error in the early ballots for the August 3rd Everett City Council District Primary Elections.

They contacted the Snohomish County Auditor’s office and asked for a public accounting of what happened and also sent a copy of their letter to local media including Here is a copy of that letter.

Garth Fell letter re ballot error

Today received a copy of the letter sent to the group by Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell. Here is a copy of that letter.


Here is a brief explanation of what happened.

On June 18th military and overseas ballots for the August 3rd Primary Election were issued by the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office. These were issued by paper ballot and an emailed link where voters could download their ballot.

In the races for Everett City Council Districts 3 and 5 there was an error where ballots had both districts included instead of only the specific district where the voter lived.

In other words, only City of Everett Council District 3 voters should have had the City Council District 3 race on their ballot. Only City of Everett Council District 5 voters should have had the City Council District 5 race on their ballot.

On June 20th the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office was notified of the error. Upon receipt of that notice the official ballot link was deactivated and an investigation begun.

The investigation determined that the race had been improperly defined in their election management and ballot design systems with staff incorrectly interpreting the requirements of the City of Everett Council District positions 1 through 5.

They had set the system to allow anybody within the City of Everett to participate in voting of all council members as opposed to only those who live within each specific City Council District’s boundaries.

In his letter Fell says that they were able to identify fewer than 11 voters who accessed the system during the time the ballot was incorrect and have emailed them with instructions on how to download and resubmit an updated ballot.

He adds that the 658 City of Everett military and overseas voters who were initially issued paper ballots were re-issued corrected ballots with an insert containing an explanation and instructions on resubmitting an updated ballot.

With regards to not offering a public comment, press release or notification Fell wrote that the issue was limited to a select number of ballots affected and they did not want to create confusion among unaffected voters.

Again links to both letters are above.

Ballots for the August 3rd Primary will be mailed to voters July 15th.

Here is a link with more election information.


About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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