Nearly 7,000 voters will receive ballots this week for the February special election via first-class mail due to a software error.
The error occurred in the Department of Licensing’s driver licensing database system that caused information to not be transmitted to the Office of the Secretary of State’s Voter Registration Division under Washington’s Motor Voter law.
Both OSOS and DOL have been working to ensure voters receive their ballots in time for the February Special Election. The data error was discovered in late January.
Working with OSOS, the DOL Information Services team learned that when some customers changed their name (with or without an address change) and were assigned a new driver license number, those changes were made in DOL’s system but were not transmitted to OSOS’s system.
Once the error was identified, the DOL team worked over the weekend of Jan. 26 to develop and test a fix to the 30-year-old driver database system. The software fix was released into production on the evening of Jan. 30.
DOL and OSOS worked together to match the voter data in the two systems. They determined the number of impacted voters is 6,969 statewide. These voters will receive special processing to receive ballots this week for the February 2018 election.
“We worked closely with the Office of the Secretary of State to identify and resolve this issue quickly,” said Pat Kohler, DOL director, in a statement. “We regret these errors occurred and we have put in place new controls that monitor daily transmitted voter information to the Secretary of State to ensure it is complete and accurate. This error underscores the importance of replacing our decades-old driver licensing database system, which is scheduled to occur this September.”
Kohler said DOL appreciates the partnership of the OSOS in this situation, and their willingness to work toward a solution. DOL will also reimburse county auditors for the cost of mailing ballots to affected voters that didn’t receive ballots.
Voters can verify their address, name and registration information at myvote.wa.gov. Questions or concerns about voter status can be directed to county auditors. A full list of county auditors is available here: sos.wa.gov/elections/viewauditors.aspx.