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Election officials concerned about Wapato ballots

Election officials concerned about Wapato ballots

WAPATO, Wash.- Yakima County Auditors counted a high amount of election ballots and unmatched signatures from Wapato voters.

"There are currently 1,500 registered voters in Wapato. As of this morning we've received closed to 400 ballots. So they have a higher than normal turnout for this election," said Yolanda Arellano, Bilingual Program Analyst for Yakima County.

Wapato's turnout count has nearly doubled this election compared to previous years.

"In 2013, it was about a 15% turnout for Wapato in the council positions. And in 2015 it looks like it was a 14% turnout. Already we are at close to 26% turn out so its almost doubled," said Yolanda.

Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross says they noticed a high number of signatures not matching up with voters signatures on file.

"We're in the neighborhood of 32 to 33 ballots coming out of Wapato that have unmatching signatures which is significantly high for such a small population of voters," said Ross.

Ross says its rare to detect that many invalid ballots in a entire election count.

"In 2013, the entire election only had 27 signatures that didn't match or they weren't signed. In 2015 we had about 50 which was a high turn out year. We're already approaching 100 ballots total and more than 30 of them are coming out of Wapato so we're concerned," said Ross.

Election officials say signing other ballots other than yours is illegal. Voters that are notified about their ballot being invalid must contact the auditors office before November 7 for their vote to count.

"We are doing our best to reach out to those voters to give them an opportunity to correct their ballot signature so that their vote will count," said Ross.

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