Washington State’s Department of Licensing announced Tuesday that a malfunction within the agency’s software system has prevented thousands of DOL customers who thought they had registered to vote from becoming registered. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, issued this statement in response:
“We have worked very closely with the Department of Licensing to identify all of the affected voters. Thankfully, the vast majority of applicants not transmitted to us by DOL were already registered to vote or registered using another method, such as our online voter registration system, MyVote.
“Our office identified nearly 7,000 applicants who need to be added to the voter rolls and issued a ballot. We are working closely with county election officials to ensure that these voters receive their February ballot in time for next week’s election.
“We are also conducting additional analysis to ensure – for all individuals who choose to register through DOL from this point forward – that the data is transferred to us so those applicants can be registered to vote. Those tests will be ongoing and conducted on a daily basis.”
Grays Harbor County Auditor Chris Thomas said that approximately 83 county voters will receive late ballots via first class mail this week for the February 13th special election, due to a software error in the Department of Licensing’s (DOL) driver licensing database system that caused information to not be transmitted to the Office of the Secretary of State’s (OSOS) Voter Registration Database under Washington’s Motor Voter law.
DOL and OSOS worked together to match the voter data in the two systems to determine the number of voters affected in each county. They determined the total number of impacted voters is 6,969 statewide, and 83 for Grays Harbor county.
The data error was discovered when OSOS and DOL learned that when some customers changed their name (with or without an address change), and were assigned a new driver license number, those changes were made in DOL’s system but were not transmitted to OSOS’s system. Once the error was identified, the DOL team worked over the weekend of January 26 to develop and test a fix to the 30-year-old driver database system. The software fix was released into production on the evening of January 30.
DOL Director Pat Kohler has assured county auditors that new controls have been put in place that monitor daily transmitted voter information to the Secretary of State to ensure it is complete and accurate.
Voters can verify their address, name and registration information at http://myvote.wa.gov.
Questions or concerns about voter status can be directed to the Scott Turnbull Grays Harbor Elections Administrator Grays Harbor county office at 360.964-1556.