MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Heavy rains are complicating today's vote in Washington State. Pat McCarthy is the Pierce County auditor. She's in charge of elections in that county and Ms. McCarthy, how are the rains affecting what's going on in Pierce County today?
Ms. PAT McCARTHY: (Pierce County, Washington, Auditor): Well, actually it's posed some challenges for us, but on the other hand, every one of our polling locations - we have 91 here in Pierce County - and our 15 express booth locations are all up and running.
BLOCK: And we've actually reached you in your car. You're talking with us on a cell phone as you drive around. What have you been hearing from people as you've gone to these polling places?
Ms. McCARTHY: Voting is quite robust. You know, we're Washingtonians, so we're used to the rain and the wet. The challenge for some voters, of course, are those that have been stranded or are having to be evacuated, and so they have issues. But not a whole lot. Just in pockets in this county.
BLOCK: Have you been hearing from people who have been evacuated or haven't been able to get to the polls?
Ms. McCARTHY: Yes. I have personally heard from voters and my team back at the Elections Department are working with voters to ascertain what are their options if they are stranded or if they've been evacuated and left their absentee ballot sitting on their kitchen table, if you will. Seventy-five percent of the voters here in Pierce County do vote by mail.
BLOCK: So what do you tell people if they say, you know, I've left my absentee ballot in my kitchen? I can't get back to my house.
Ms. McCARTHY: Well, fortunately for voters in Washington State, we have lots of contingency plans. If they have access to a computer and a printer they can go online and do an email ballot, where they actually download a ballot and an envelope and then get it to a postal station.
The Secretary of State's Office has come up with some ways in which to handle those stranded, for example, up in Crystal Mountain. No one can get in, so they'll be able to document the fact that they have been stranded and then have them put on their absentee ballot envelopes flooded ballot or there's some nomenclature that has to go on the outside of the envelope, and that will go to the Canvassing Board, who will ultimately rule on those particular issues.
BLOCK: Well, Ms. McCarthy, good to talk to you. Thanks so much.
Ms. McCARTHY: You're welcome.
BLOCK: Pat McCarthy is the auditor for Pierce County in Washington State. That's south of Seattle. She was speaking to us from her car in the town of Chewelah.
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