Tuesday's primary ballot has been called confusing by some, but Pacific County Auditor Pat Gardner said instructions will be posted on the wall of each polling place and workers will be there to explain the process.

Voters will receive four ballots - one Democratic, one Republican, one Libertarian and one Nonpartisan - either in the mail or when they go to their polling site. All of the ballots will have the nonpartisan races and ballot measures.

"Pick one ballot, depending on your party affiliation," Gardner said. "Place the others in the envelope, seal it and place it in a sealed, unused ballot box for security and confidentiality."

The Secretary of State assigned colors to each party: Red is Democratic, Green is Republican, and Blue is Libertarian. The ballots will be color-coded, by a color strip. The nonpartisan ballot will be plain with no striping. Each ballot will contain the name of the party or nonpartisan.

Absentee voters can pick the ballot they wish to vote and dispose of the other three in the privacy of their home. Voters who vote at the polls, however, will be handed all four and instructed to place the three ballots they do not want to vote in an envelope and place the envelope in the sealed box, marked "unused ballots." By doing this, a voter's choice of party or nonparty remains a secret. The unused sealed boxes containing the unused ballots will be kept secured until later, when they can be destroyed.

Voters will vote the remaining ballot and return the voted ballot to the ballot box at their poll site. By folding the ballot over, your choice of ballot will be kept secret. The poll site ballots will be counted later Tuesday night at the Auditor's Office at the South Bend courthouse.

If a voter chooses not to vote a partisan ballot, he or she is still eligible to vote the nonpartisan ballot, which is one of the four received at the polling place.

"Pick a party, vote on the party ballot, then vote the non-partisan ballot," Gardner said.

The Pacific County Auditor's Office Election department numbers are (360) 875-9317 or (360) 642-9317.


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