Additional postage has absentee voters licked - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Additional postage has absentee voters licked

Post office admits ballots should not have been returned to citizens

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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Return to sender.

Absentee ballots across Kootenai County were returned to voters who tried to mail them back to the elections department recently after a postage snafu - even though post office rules regarding mailed votes say they should have been delivered anyway.

Turns out, mailing back the two ballots on weight and size alone should cost 61 cents, not the standard 44 cents.

Post office rules state that votes should be delivered anyway, as a way to ensure they are counted, post office staff said Wednesday.

But voters shouldn't worry, the problem has been fixed, the elections department said Monday. They can drop in their ballots with one stamp and Kootenai County will pay the post office the difference after the election is over.

"It's unfortunate it took this long for us to catch it," said Carrie Phillips, elections supervisor, who noticed the mix up last week when voters began bringing them in by hand after the ballots returned to their homes. "I feel good that we'll get everyone's ballot."

Some voters were surprised when their ballots came back saying they needed an additional 17 pennies.

"I think it could have a really devastating impact on the election, there are a lot of people who don't know," said voter Shirley Thagard, who mailed in her ballot recently only to have it return four days later for insufficient funds.

Phillips said she expects every vote will make its way to the department anyway. Kootenai County has worked out an agreement with the United States Postal Service to pay the office back the difference, so it should go ahead and deliver them. The issue didn't occur during the primary election in May because absentee voters were mailing back one ballot. That cost 44 cents, or one stamp. But this election has two ballots, the second being reserved for the constitutional issues. That bumps the price to 61 cents. The cost is detailed in the instructions that come with the ballot, but many people might not have seen it.

Dave Hoover, postmaster for the Coeur d'Alene post office, said he was unaware so many ballots were coming back. He said the office has an agreement in its operations manual that says ballots should be delivered regardless if postage is covered or not, to ensure the vote is counted. That's a national agreement though the post offices.

Phillips said the elections department will decide after the election what to do in the future regarding postage. It could pay for self-addressed stamped envelopes, but that might not be economical since many people bring them in by hand anyway. She said the county still plans to uphold its agreement with the post office to reimburse the cost.

The last day to request an absentee ballot through the mail is 5 p.m. Wednesday. So far, the department has received around 5,000 of the requested 10,000 ballots.

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  • justinian posted at 1:20 pm on Sun, Oct 31, 2010.

    justinian Posts: 318

    Poor "Tote a Vote" Dan can't even get the basics right, can he? Danny spends HOURS daily blogging, why would anyone be surprised when the job he was elected to do gets an EPIC "FAIL"?

  • idaho native posted at 10:18 pm on Thu, Oct 28, 2010.

    idaho native Posts: 551

    only $republikons expect SOMETHING for NOTHING.

  • idaho native posted at 10:16 pm on Thu, Oct 28, 2010.

    idaho native Posts: 551

    ffej....just as i thought: another fox-sheep-kkklone. all blow and NO SHOW!

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 2:01 pm on Wed, Oct 27, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Idaho native,

    ROFL you just verified my conclusion. LOL Idiot=progressive=you

  • 3Cheers posted at 8:57 am on Wed, Oct 27, 2010.

    3Cheers Posts: 423

    986crazy-That's amazing! I read the same thing about postage in the materials sent with my ballot! And the post office in Rathdrum even had the 61 cent stamp! How weird is that?

  • idaho native posted at 10:53 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    idaho native Posts: 551

    progressives are idiots: good, at least we don't pray to the MORMON BECK....are mormon's Christians?

    hummm......FOR THE NEXT FEW QUESTIONS, I WILL BE IN TRAINING TO BE A REPULICAN, working at the employment office.

    1. when you were born(white folks only)?

    2. did your mother know who your daddy was? ...the shelter is on 4th street.

    3. are you injured? the shelter is on 4th street.

    4. did you ever have a job? the soup kitchen is on 4th street.

    5. are you are a "rehab".?

    6. are you a$Re a $Republican "rehab"?

    if you answered YES to question 5 & 6; please answer question 7.

    7. what makes you think that being a $Republican $Rehab is so must be the "free" lunch.

    IF IT WAS UP TO this BLUE DOG $R$Democrat...i would prey that you "DIE QUICKLY".

    U get what you vote for.

  • IDHound posted at 10:40 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    IDHound Posts: 14

    I've had a headache since I read this in the Press today. Of all the stupid things!

    Does the Elections Dept alert the USPS (reminders never hurt) that absentee ballots are going out?

    Does the USPS review their policies/procedures and disseminate information/reminders to all USPS personnel (yes... read & sign documents are better than nothing)?

    If the answer is yes to the above, then some good investigation should find the cause of the problem.

    Even if the Elections Dept didn't inform the USPS (yes... I think they should have because communication is everything), it looks as though the USPS didn't follow their own procedures. So there you have it... communication and training are the root of the problem once again. Go figure...

    Bottom line... it's a management issue.

    This isn't rocket science, it's management 101 and this truly drives me crazy.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 6:57 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Isn't strange how when the Progressive Movement showed it's ugly hand in America, in the early 1900's, a well educated electorate was reduced by increments, until now you really need to search hard to educate yourself on the issues. Why would a government not want a well educated electorate? BECAUSE THEY FEAR IT!

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 6:51 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969


    I apologies to Rollingthunder if he isn't a progressive. But all Progressives are Idiots, that only they can apologize for.

    As for Mr. English, There have so many major election problems coming out of his office in the past 2 years SNAFU is an aped Description of KC elections. If not the county Clerk who is to blame? If you reread my posts about the workers in the office I know very well Mr. English is the only elected one there

    Your Idea of Customer service is an invitation to Voter Fraud. Mail in I have already covered, Online? only if an encryption system and Voting only web system is developed that can't be hacked or manipulated (which means that will happen about 100 years from now), And by Proxy is another chance for the dead to vote till caught (NO WAY), if you can't make it to the polling place for medical or out of the district reasons, an absentee ballot can be available but I want to see annual renewal of those ballots in person or by medical request under penalty of perjury if found to be able to vote in person.

    I find it appalling that I never get asked for ID to vote, that is an open invitation for fraud. If the honor of going in person to vote is an annoyance than it is everyone right not to vote. Those people that chose not to vote because it's inconvenient, have the right and the ability, anymore customer service than that is a waste of time and money.
    IF you want a possible solution to get higher voter turn out from me, not just no's, I have called for election days to be State holidays and/or employers under legal requirement to allow 4 hours paid during polling hours off to vote. If people don't use it to vote that is their right, but I would guess that would increase voter turnout about 10 to 25%. Maybe use the finger dipping trick so employers know they aren't wasting their money.
    This option would increase voter turn out and not increase chances of voter fraud. Can you think of any better system, that keeps integrity of the elections and could increase turnout? Elections days where holidays until the early 1900's, they had parties in the parks and last minute election speeches throughout the day if people wanted to listen. This option could even be used to educate the voters better than we have now.

  • toughluck posted at 6:04 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    toughluck Posts: 167

    Kootenia County ought to pay the gas of those that do not vote by mail. Might as well throw in daycare and replacement workers as well.

  • Randy Myers posted at 6:00 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    Jeffrey you have a point or two here. Too bad you stoop to name calling.

    There are two issues here that are related closely. One is to have a fair and accurate election. The other is to make voting as easily accessible as possible in order to allow as many as possible to vote. This falls under the realm of "customer service." I think mail in, online, by proxy, and any other possible solution are options if monitored correctly.

    As to our local elections...Dan English is competent and emphasizes customer services and it shows in his employees attitudes. By the way, the office workers aren't voted in (resists the temptation to name call Jeffrey the same name he used to describe 2 here ) only the Clerk is. If Dan's elections staff are infused with his habits then we are all the better for it.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 1:55 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    What is really telling is my mom was registered Republican and never voted after she died.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 1:52 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Absentee voting is not a right it is a privilege that most states have set up originally to allow Military and government worker abroad to vote. Then just like all good things that are tried people have found ways to corrupt what was a good idea into a process that is riddled with ways to us it for corruption. You have to be a, Progressive Idiot Rollingthunder, you want other to pay for something you find to annoying to interrupt for day a couple time a year. Or do you find it annoying that you can't win elections without corruption. My dad is a Democrat in Oregon and has voted democrat in Oregon every year till they sent his ballot to my house 2 years ago, he has been dead 19 years. You want that in Idaho??? I don't want that anywhere in the US.

  • rollingthunder posted at 1:16 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    rollingthunder Posts: 361

    It would seem to me the right thing to do with ballots by mail would be to do this at no cost. It is redicilous that the government could not authorize the mailing of ballots at no cost. In todays society, look how much money and time could be saved if the majority of voting could be done by mail an or on line.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 8:36 am on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    It's not the entire office, There are some good workers in there. It's the management they work under that is the problem.

    Oh No, did I just say something good about any public servants? The ones in the elections office I have talked with do seem to understand they are servant of the people, Maybe that is because they are so close to the voters in their work, and see everyday that without the voters they wouldn't have the honor of being a servant of the people.

  • ancientemplar posted at 8:06 am on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1260

    Another example of the lack of managerial oversight. Send the entire elections department packing. The ineptitude of the English era runs unabated in the elections office. It is ingrained in their work habits. Somebody should have noticed the errors of USPS.

  • 986crazy posted at 6:09 am on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    986crazy Posts: 425

    I voted absentee. It said IN BOLD LETTERS INSIDE THE MATERIALS that the postage required is 61cents. It just shows how uninformed/uneducated the electorate CHOOSES to be. God help us.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 5:51 am on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969


    Your are very wrong about the voter fraud in oregon and washington, people sell their ballots for as much as $50 and dead people are voting because a death certificate doesn't cancel your ballots being mailed to relatives, they even search for relatives in different states to send the ballots to. I know people in Oregon that never vote but always look forward to elections for extra cash from the group formally known as ACORN, I haven't asked who is buying them this year probably SEIU, but it's always CASH for a signed ballot.

  • TakeBackTheUSA posted at 5:21 am on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    TakeBackTheUSA Posts: 765

    Contrary to misinformed opinions this wasn't so much a mistake by the elections dept as it was the USPS flaunting their own regulations but getting caught. You don't return so many ballots by accident. It's a post office, and their union, wanting to make a statement about their funding.

    Also, good for the local elections office for allowing so many absentee ballots. It allows more people to vote, which is of course an anathema to the republican cause. Wouldn't want to jeopardize the status quo with too much involvement. And incidentally, voter fraud in WA and OR is no worse than anywhere else. But their voter turn out is much higher.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 4:33 am on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    I see more court cases in the future on these elections too. Another SNAFU for the Elections department. I hope only those ballots voting for that idiot Dan English, that of course had nothing to do with this either, are found in mail boxes in the spring after Real absentee voters return from their winter homes.
    If most people are bringing their ballots in person doesn't that usually mean they didn't need an absentee anyway, are those people just wasting our tax money, or are these the ones that believe in "VOTE EARLY, so they can VOTE OFTEN" I know in Washington and Oregon voter fraud is rampant because of the mail in elections, and high number of absentee ballots, most hand delivered so not really needed, is a good indication of it moving here.

    Do post offices around the country and coming from overseas (military) know to deliver them anyway? or do those ballots don't count because they come late because of another English (Situation Normal All F___ed UP) SNAFU.

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