Nikkita Oliver on election night. Photo by Casey Jaywork

Election 2017

Oliver Campaign Looks to Challenged Ballots For Late Push

Signature issues have caused about 2,000 ballots from Seattle voters to not be counted.

The Nikkita Oliver campaign is launching an effort to verify thousands of ballots not counted due to issues with the signatures on the envelope. The campaign says signature issues that result in a challenge from King County Elections affect a disproportionate number of ballots from demographics it says came out strong for Oliver.

“We know that the voters who tend to support Nikkita, the voters that Nikkita talked about all the time—immigrants, young people, people voting for the first time who don’t know the rules,” are the voters most likely to have their ballots not counted, said Dujie Tahat, spokesperson for the Oliver campaign.

Washington’s mail ballot election system requires voters to sign their envelope in order to ensure that they are the ones who are casting the ballot. If envelopes come in unsigned or if the signature does not match what’s on record, then the ballot is not counted, but is held pending verification. The Oliver campaign now has a list of voters whose ballots were not counted, and are contacting them to verify their votes. Such maneuvering is par for the course, according to King County Elections. “It’s not uncommon for campaigns to go after signatures,” spokesperson Kafia Hosh told Seattle Weekly.

In a press release issued earlier today, the campaign stated that it has launched a “ballot-chasing” effort that will consist of daily meet-ups at various locations throughout the city for supporters who would like help.

“This is a natural extension of the campaign we set out to launch back in March,” Nikkita Oliver said in the statement. “Just because election day has come and gone, doesn’t mean that the process is over. Centering marginalized voices starts with making sure that they are heard. These are people trying to participate in the political process, and this campaign and the Seattle Peoples Party will work until the final bell to ensure that they are counted regardless of who they intend to vote for.”

At present, the number of uncounted ballots is not enough to sway the election. According to King County Elections, there are 2,200 ballots from Seattle that were not counted due to problems with the signature. As of Thursday’s count, Oliver trailed Cary Moon by 2,576, meaning that even if 100 percent of the uncounted ballots were for Oliver, they could not overcome the current deficit.

That said, another 40,000 ballots are being counted today. If those ballots—which will largely be from the kind of same-day voters that Oliver’s campaign is counting on for a late surge—close her gap with Moon, then the uncounted ballots could become a factor.

“Today’s results will factor in pretty significantly, obviously,” Tahat said.

A representative of Moon’s campaign said that they are not doing outreach for uncounted ballots at this time, saying they will reassess if the tally gets “within a few hundred votes.”

Also Friday, Jessyn Farrell, the candidate currently in fourth place, conceded while Jenny Durkan went ahead and declared victory. Durkan now holds a 14 point lead over second-place Moon.

“As the final votes are counted, I look forward to facing either candidate and having a dialogue focused on the issues,” Durkan said in a press release.

dperson@seattleweekly.com

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