Opinion

Torrens Talk: Voter info can be found online

Come Tuesday, some of the voters in Kitsap County will have a chance to vote. It is the primary and only those who live in districts with contested races are involved. The two winners of each of these contests advance to the general election.

How do you know if you are one of the lucky voters? Simple, you should have received your ballot by the beginning of the month. If you did not get one, then it means your chance to vote will be Nov. 3.

The one thing that those voting did not get – and neither will anyone for the November election – is the Kitsap County Voters’ Pamphlet. That printed brochure that came complete with all the candidate statements and sample ballot is no longer. It, like many things, has fallen to the budget axe. The cost of printing and mailing these pamphlets countywide is no longer financially feasible.

However, that does not mean that the Auditor’s office has left voters out in the cold – despite what some might think or put out there. As the office announced last spring, the brochure, like many things nowadays, has moved online.

When voters call up the county home page on their computer, they will see front and center, under Kitsap News, a direct link to the new video voter guide. This link gets you to 2-minute videos of the candidates espousing their positions. The only problem with it is that one must have a fairly current computer and high-speed internet connection.

If one does not have that, then the other best option is the “printed” version which is a PDF file. That option is available once one gets to the Elections and Voting page which is reached from the county home page by clicking on “Elections and Voter Registration” at the top.

As a chronically technologically challenged person, I suggested that it would be good to have a link to the PDF version on the county home page like the video version. That would make it much easier to find. I figure I am not the only one who does not have the time nor patience to wander through websites locating information. Whether that change happens will depend upon the county IT folks, who, like everyone else, have far more work than time or resources to do everything that is requested.

Still, customer service is the focus of the Auditor’s office under Walt Washington, just as it was under Karen Flynn. They recognize that not everyone has a computer or access to a computer. So, if someone needs a printed copy of the voters’ guide, they just need to call the Auditor’s Office, Elections Division at 337-7128. The folks there will be happy to provide one with a printed version for the races that appear on their ballot.

It is truly unfortunate that it has come to this for those of us who love our printed pages. I, especially, loved getting them because I could have my students bring them in for small and large group discussion in my political science classes. The online version makes things less convenient and more cumbersome. Again, this change is wrought due to financial necessity.

I am not a happy camper about this decision but I understand why it was made. I certainly do not hold Walt Washington or the Auditor’s Office at all responsible. It is unconscionable to blame them when they are doing precisely what those calling for government budgets to shrink have demanded of them.

This seems to be a case of “be careful what you ask for.” People cannot keep demanding cuts and not think there won’t be consequences. The Auditor’s Office has done a commendable job given their constraints. They deserve kudos, not “raspberries.”

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