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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Officials: Handful of Spokane County ballots wrongly marked return to sender due to equipment error

Elections and postal officials confirmed this week that a handful of Spokane County ballots for the midterm election were scanned incorrectly and marked for return to the sender by carriers.

Officials said they believe the incident is isolated and carriers are being instructed to redirect those ballots to the Spokane County Auditor’s Office for counting.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Friday that the regional postmaster had confirmed eight mailed ballots had been scanned incorrectly and given to carriers to return to their point of origin. Two of those ballots actually were returned to voters, while six others were intercepted in transit and taken to the elections office, Dalton said.

Mary Smith, customer relations coordinator for the U.S. Postal Service in Spokane, said earlier this week a ballot isn’t supposed to be returned to the sender when such an error occurs. Carriers are being instructed to divert any ballots they find to the auditor’s office.

If voters have concerns about their ballot or find one returned in their mail, Dalton urged them to contact the Elections Office at (509) 477-2320. Voters can also check the status of their mail-in ballot by using the MyVote online tool available from the Secretary of State’s website, at

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