Postal muddle delays ACT vote tally

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18— The counting of votes in the ACT Board election has been postponed to the first week in November. This decision is due to unexplained delays in the delivery of mailed ballots by the U.S. Postal Service. More than 90 percent of ballots in ACT Board elections are cast by mail.

Ballots began to arrive at the ACT post office box October 2-4. But almost two weeks passed before any more ballots arrived in the mail. When finally two batches arrived on the 17th, most of them were postmarked at least ten days earlier. 

The count of votes was to take place on Saturday, October 19. It became clear that if votes were counted that day as scheduled, a large number of ACT voters who mailed their ballots on time and in good faith would be cheated of their voice. Under the circumstances there could not be a fair ballot count on the 19th. 

Therefore the count is being postponed to the first week in November. Volunteers from the Arlington League of Women Voters, who were scheduled to open the ballots for the count on Saturday the 19th, will determine the exact date when they will again be available to help.

The publicly established deadline for voting has not been changed. Accordingly, the ACT office will accept all mailed ballots postmarked on or before the final deadline of October 19. Hand-delivered ballots will not be accepted after 3:00 p.m. Oct. 19. 

The incompetence of the Postal Service in this case is unprecedented in ACT's experience of five Board elections. Nothing like this postal delay happened in ACT’s first four elections.