Woodbury ballot blunder prompts reviewWashington County workers were given remedial training following a recent ballot discrepancy in Woodbury.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Washington County workers were given remedial training following a recent ballot discrepancy in Woodbury.
The issue came to county officials’ attention earlier this month after a Woodbury woman went to the county’s Woodury service center and attempted to vote early.
The woman, Lisa Hartzell, went to fill out the ballot and expected to find the District 53A race between Pam Cunningham and JoAnn Ward. It wasn’t there.
Hartzell took the ballot back to the service desk and explained the problem. She said workers there insisted she was given the correct ballot and asked her to leave it with them.
“I was worried that my whole ballot would be disqualified from voting,” Hartzell said. “I felt pretty strongly about getting my vote in for president.”
So she left and started making calls, including the Minnesota secretary of state’s office and the Washington County elections office.
Eventually county officials were able to spoil the ballot and allow Hartzell to cast a new one.
The problem was that Hartzell was accidentally handed the wrong ballot, said Washington County Property Records and Taxpayer Services Director Jennifer Wagenius.
“This was a human error that occurred,” she said, noting that it was an isolated incident.
Still, Wagenius said workers at the service center were given remedial training and reminded of responsibilities.
“It was unfortunate that it happened but we were comforted that we were able to resolve it with the voter,” Wagenius said.
Though the situation was remedied, Hartzell said she was disappointed with a process she called “sloppy.”
“They should have caught that when I brought it to their attention,” she said. “I’m not sure the average person would have caught that.”
Wagenius said the situation presented a teachable moment for voters and the workers who are responsible for handling 109 different ballot styles in Washington County.
More than 10,000 absentee ballots had been cast by late last week, she said.
“We expect more to be coming in,” Wagenius said.