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Spelling gets best of Island County auditor

The Island County Auditor’s Office has initiated a new policy for election ballot proofreaders.

Henceforth, they will spell each candidate’s name out loud. The office sent out early ballots to 2,040 members of the military and their dependents this week with the name of a candidate for state Attorney General misspelled.

“There were six of us including me who missed it,” Auditor Sheilah Crider said. “We inserted a consonant where there shouldn’t be one.”

Only ballots mailed to the military were involved, but Crider said her office reprinted all the ballots just to make sure.

“We delivered them at 10:30 a.m. to the post office, a day early,” she said.

Crider didn’t know what the error would cost the county, but said the important thing was to ensure voters have the correct ballot.

“The ballots are the link to voters in a democracy, and I’m determined to make sure we get it right,” she said.

It was a bad week all around for Crider and her staff.

Angie Homola, the Democratic challenger in the race for the District 2 seat on the Island County board of commissioners, said her candidate’s statement was cut short by 33 words.

Homola said she discovered the mistake when her husband, a Navy reservist, received his ballot early.

The mistake was ironic, she said, because the part that got cut off was about accountability in government.

Crider offered to meet with Homola and accepted full responsibility for the error, offering her apology to the Oak Harbor-based candidate for the omission.

“We erred, we admitted it, and we took corrective action immediately,” she said.

“My office took immediate action to correct this oversight by mailing the entire last page in which the error occurred to all military voters who received ballots late last week,” Crider added.

With only two candidates in the District 2 race, both Homola and McDowell will advance to the general election in November.

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