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Originally published Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:04 PM

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1,278 Snohomish County ballots not mailed until Monday

More than 1,000 Snohomish County election ballots weren't mailed to voters because of an error during printing. The county auditor's office Monday mailed replacement ballots and asked that they be returned by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Seattle Times Snohomish County reporter

More than 1,000 Snohomish County election ballots weren't mailed to voters because of an error during printing. The county auditor's office Monday mailed replacement ballots and asked that they be returned by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

If mailed, they must be postmarked Tuesday.

Auditor Carolyn Weikel said the problem wasn't identified until Monday afternoon. She said several registered voters called the office earlier this month to report not receiving ballots. The office mailed replacement ballots. But as more calls came in, she said her instincts told her that a tray of ballots was missing.

Her office checked first with the Postal Service and then with the vendor, K and H Printing of Everett, which found 1,278 ballots that had been set aside during printing because of an error.

"I'm very concerned and very upset," Weikel said. "It's the day before the election and we're just finding out there's an issue."

Weikel said the printer produces ballots for many Washington and California counties and recently celebrated 100 years in business.

She said that as the ballots were mechanically stuffed into envelopes, a machine automatically checked bar codes to be sure they were the same on each. An operator noticed that some did not match and put them aside to be redone. They weren't redone, Weikel said.

The recently mailed ballots appear to be from Lynnwood-area precincts and include an assisted-living facility, she said.

The auditor's office mailed a letter to affected voters Monday along with the ballots. It told residents to return the ballots by the close of polling at 8 p.m. Tuesday, or have them postmarked Tuesday. The office added a drop-off collection center at the Château Pacific Retirement Community on 148th Street Southwest, where many residents did not receive ballots.

Drop-off centers in the Lynnwood area also include one at the Lynnwood Sno-Isle Library at 19200 44th Ave. W. and the Mukilteo Sno-Isle Library at 4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd. Voters who did not receive ballots may also contact the elections staff at 425-388-3444.

Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or lthompson@seattletimes.com

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