Redistricting causes voter confusion - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Redistricting causes voter confusion

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PASCO, Wash.-- Ballots for the August 7th primary are out and legislative redistricting has some voters in Franklin County are a little confused about the changes.

Some Franklin County voters were confused to see that their primary ballots had 9th District candidates on them, instead of their usual 16th District. New district lines went into effect on April 30th of this year, moving the boundaries and changing several ballots. Legislative redistricting happens every ten years to make sure each district maintains a similar population size. The region's population fluctuation called for some line moving and some 16th District voters are now part of the 9th District.

Kent McMullen, a new 9th District voter, says he never heard about the change and thought it must be a ballot mix-up.

"I have lived in the 16th District and the boundary has been the same for numerous years. There was nothing included with my ballot that showed that there had been a change of boundaries and so I had thought it had been a misprint on the ballot," says McMullen.

He called his neighbors and found out he wasn't the only one confused

"They looked it up and said, 'Yeah, how come we don't have the normal 16th representatives for 16th district and instead we're shown 9th district. So we assumed there'd been a misprint on ballots,'" says McMullen.

It wasn't a misprint. Franklin County Auditor, Matt Beaton, says the government isn't required to send an explanation letter with the ballot.

"The notices required by the secretary of state are when the precinct lines change, you send out a new voter card. Then when the district lines change, we put it in the media, we put it on the website and then we assure you get the proper ballot," says Beaton.

Beaton realizes it startles some voters, but it's in place to give them equal representation.

"People do get attached to and know they're representatives and sometimes when you don't understand change, you feel a sense of loss, but, in fact, the system worked here," says Beaton.

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