Off The Press — Election envelopes create sticky situation

August 12, 2014

By Joe Heslet

Like any responsible procrastinator I pride myself at waiting to the very last minute to complete any task. So, on election eve, realizing this was the last chance to exercise my right to vote in the primary, I finally opened the envelope from King County Elections that had been sitting on my kitchen table for at least a month.

With a sense of duty I read through the names on my ballot and filled in the corresponding oval as neatly as a person with zero small motor skills possibly could. I progressed rather quickly, coming finally to the list of people running for the judge position. Like most voters I know nothing about any of these people so I did what I always do…voted for the person whose name seemed the most normal.

Joe Heslet

Joe Heslet

Feeling a sense of accomplishment I folded my ballot, placed it in the inner security jacket and reached for the envelope that would carry my votes to where ever it is they count them. But something is wrong…this envelope is already sealed. For a second I was quite confused. Had I already stuffed my ballot into the envelope, licked it and sealed it and then momentarily blacked out? No. My ballot was still sitting on the table in its security jacket.

This envelope had been mailed to me this way. Why? Did they not want me to vote? It has been unusually hot this summer. Were these envelopes stored in a hot room where the glue melted? Or maybe they were purchased from the lowest bidder, who used questionable and inferior glue in an effort to keep costs down.

I came to the conclusion that the only way to make my vote count was to unseal the envelope. Here again the lack of small motor skills created a problem. My envelope was now open, but it wasn’t pretty. I inserted my ballot into the envelope and started to lick the flap to try to reseal it. But I stopped short as the thought of the potentially sketchy products that may have gone in this glue entered my mind. Then, I wondered, if I lick this would I go the way of George Costanza’s fiancé in that episode of “Seinfeld?” So I decided to just tape it closed.

Now my envelope was sealed, but it definitely looked like it could have been tampered with. Is it possible they won’t count my vote after all this? Or worse yet, would some nefarious political operative see my envelope and consider it the perfect opportunity to replace my vote with the ballot of a dead person?  Ironically, I’ve often wondered how the government can tax dead people when they can’t vote. Isn’t that taxation without representation? But I digress…

Putting all my fears and concerns aside, I affixed a forever stamp to my mangled envelope and dropped it in a mailbox and hoped for the best. And I hope King County will get a better batch of envelopes before the general election in November.

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