Ballots are out, it’s time to vote

Katy Moore has been working as the Grays Harbor County election administrator since April of this year. She’s originally from Aberdeen, and graduated from Aberdeen High School and Grays Harbor College. She currently lives in Elma with her husband Michael and her children Madison, 14, and Cobey, 11. Moore previously worked for Comcast but chose to work for the county because she enjoys being connected to the community, managing projects and working with people.

What do you do as elections administrator?

As the elections administrator I am responsible for anything that has to do with voter registration and elections in Grays Harbor County.

What kinds of races and measures can be found on this year’s ballot?

On the 2013 general election ballot we have over 120 races spread across the county. We have advisory votes, state initiatives, a county transportation proposition, multiple fire district propositions and many candidate races. I really applaud the people that are willing to file as candidates. They often get paid very little if anything at all, they pay to campaign, open themselves up to criticism, and in the end know there can only be one winner. I think this takes a lot of courage and I have a lot of respect for anyone willing to do it.

What are some common mistakes people make while voting? How can they be avoided?

One of the most common mistakes a voter can make is to forget to sign the declaration on the return envelope. If we get the ballot back without a signature it becomes challenged. We work hard to contact the voter to get a signature before the deadline, however if we can’t it may not be counted. The second mistake is not paying attention to the election deadline. All ballots for the 2013 general election have to be postmarked by Nov. 5 or dropped in a drop box by 8 p.m. on election night.

People can continue registering to vote until Oct. 28. What kinds of paperwork do they need to bring in to register?

If a new voter wants to register to vote they can come to our office up until Oct. 28. Voters can print out a registration form from our elections website or can come in to our office and pick one up. After the form is completed we verify through different databases the person’s ID. We encourage everyone that is eligible to register to vote.

Day to day, what’s your job like? What do you work on when there isn’t an impending election?

There are four election times each year. It takes a couple of months to prepare for each election. From finalizing all of the information that will go on the ballot, creating the ballot, working with the vendors to order the election material, preparing the ballots to mail and processing them when they come back. We believe strongly in making sure our voter database is up-to-date and accurate so we are constantly working with new and current voters making sure their information is correct. I really enjoy working with candidates from candidate filing, running reports, and supporting them through the election process. There seems to always be new election policy changes so I also get to work with county officials and the community try to keep everyone up-to-date on the changes. The best part about this job is that it’s fast-paced and always different.

How much work does the county put into conducting elections? How much does it cost?

The cost of an election really has to do with how many districts participate. Each district pays for a portion depending on how many voters are in their district and how many races or measures they have on a ballot. The 2013 General Election has 46 different districts that will share the cost. This election is estimated to cost close to $75,000. The cost is estimated to be around $9,000 for the county portion.

How many ballots will be sent out this year? How many do you expect to get back? How do these numbers compare to previous years’ elections?

We have sent out 37,828 ballots, however with the new registrations still coming in that number will change slightly. It is hard to know exactly what the returns will be. I think some people believe if it is not a presidential or a mainly partisan year that the elections are smaller. This election has crucial measures and races to our communities. Voting is the best way to have our voices heard.

How soon can we expect to see election results?

Depending on how many returns we receive we plan to start processing ballots today, however we never know the results until election night. We will run the results at 8 p.m. on election night and hopefully have them posted to our website by 8:30 p.m.