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Over 200,000 people getting Seattle parking tickets voided, refunded after city error

Refunds are starting today for about 100,000 people who paid fines for parking violations they received between Sept. 1, 2021, and April 5, 2022.

SEATTLE — If you got a parking ticket between Sept. 1, 2021, and April 5, 2022, the City of Seattle is issuing you a refund. 

Refunds will be issued to about 100,000 people who paid fines for parking violations they received during that period of time. An additional 100,000 who did not pay their parking fines will have their tickets voided, according to the city. 

The refunds will cost the city approximately $4.5 million to $5 million dollars, according to a spokesperson for Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell's office.

Refunds will begin to go out June 6. You can check if your ticket was impacted on the city's website by searching your license plate or citation number. Those who will receive refunds or have their tickets voided won't have to take any action. 

The refunds stem from when the city transitioned Parking Enforcement Officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). The city missed a crucial step which would authorize Parking Enforcement Officers to issue tickets. 

When the Seattle City Council approved the transition, the council intended the Seattle police chief to issue special commissions to city employees who are not within the police department, but who enforce certain aspects of the city's traffic code, like parking violations. Adrian Diaz has been filling in as interim chief since September 2020.

The special commissions were not issued until April 5 after Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell's office learned they hadn't been performed, according to the city. 

The city said it is now working to remedy parking tickets and fines issued during the "non-commissioned period." Those who may have received tickets within that period can go to the city's website for more information about refunds or having a ticket voided.

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