Franklin County Ballots Disqualified at a Startling Rate - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin County Ballots Disqualified at a Startling Rate

PASCO, Wash.- Ballots around Washington were being counted Friday, with some surprising numbers out of Franklin County. 

An estimated 26% of the ballots turned in in Franklin County are not being counted, and now the state is enlisting the U.S. Supreme Court to try and overturn a ruling that declared the state's "top two" system unconstitutional.

Franklin County officials say about 1,300 of the 5,000 ballots cast will not be counted because they were incorrectly filled out, and officials wonder why.

"Really it's all speculation we just don't know. I'm sure there were people who forgot, I'm sure there were people who were protesting, so it's just, it's hard to say," said Franklin County Auditor Zona Lenhart. 

Though many of the ballots were incorrectly filled out, thousands more went uncast, often because people thought the new system is unpatriotic.

"I don't think they need to keep it to where you have to pick one party.  You can like somebody in a different party just because you like what he stands for or actions that he's taken going through, you shouldn't have to vote for him just because he's a Democrat or a Republican," said Shane Leach of Pasco.

Only Island County, where the San Juan Islands are, has a higher rate of disqualifications, and now, the state is enlisting the help of the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to bring back the "top two" primary system.

"Rather than a candidate from each party going on to the General Election after the Primary Election, the top two vote getters would move on to the General Election regardless of party," said Brenda Chilton, Chief Deputy Auditor for Benton County. 

Almost everyone we talked to Friday said they do not like the new system, and many say they did not even know anything about it.

It is important to note that none of these numbers are official yet.

However, Franklin County officials said they are concerned, and they will be using methods including focus groups to study ways to improve their numbers.

The results will be certified on September 29.

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