Voters urged to keep election booklets

Hang on to those voters pamphlets.

That's the recommendation of Thurston County elections officials as the statewide guides are mailed out this week.

County pamphlets won't be sent out for a week or so, and mail-in ballots won't come out until Oct. 19.

So, to be informed, hang on to those pamphlets, county elections manager Steve Homan said Thursday.

Homan is concerned about his office being inundated with calls from people wondering where the county pamphlets are; the state ones went out early because of a lack of storage space, he said.

"It puts us in a bind at the county level," Homan said.

Anyone who will be 18 by Nov. 6 date can register to vote.

The county works with schools in a "Voting is Cool" program to teach teens about the elections.

Keith Mullen, also of the county elections department, said there are 1,781 newly registered voters countywide this year.

Mullen and Homan raved about the county's new voter-registration system. It was paid for with a $730,000 federal grant from the Help America Vote Act.

The county only has to pay for upkeep of the system. Funds also went to equipment to help disabled people vote and to automated ballot-sorting machines.

"It's more user-friendly for us and connects us to the state better," Homan said of the system.

"The neat things about it are internal for us."

As an example, Homan said, with the old system there were 12 steps to create a label. With the new one, operators press one button.

"We were dying" with the previous system, he said.

Steven Powell is city editor for The Olympian. He can be reached at 360-754-5423 or spowell@theolympian.com.