An error that originated in the county clerk's office caused the omission of secrecy envelopes from ballots mailed out to Wallowa County residents Jan. 16 for the Feb. 3 mail-in election. County Clerk Charlotte McIver accepts responsibility for the omission which has prompted a rash of phone calls to her office.

"We just made a mistake," said the clerk. Secrecy envelopes were included with ballots mailed out earlier to voters outside Wallowa County.

In an effort to rectify the situation, a second mailing to 4,405 Wallowa County voters was sent out Tuesday morning with a secrecy envelope and an explanation sheet. Postal cost for the second mailing amounted to $674.

The explanation sheet explains that the enclosed secrecy envelope can be used if the voter has yet to return their ballot, that voting without a secrecy envelope will not invalidate their vote and that those who have already voted and are so inclined can come into the clerk's office in the county courthouse to correct the problem. In the latter scenario the voter can take their ballot out of the tan envelope, place it in a secrecy envelope, then reseal and initial the tan envelope before a witness in the clerk's office.

"The people are being very understanding about our mistake," said McIver.

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