POSTMARK: Make sure your ballot is counted by election day

Election day is next week, the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s office reports they have mailed out 37,375 ballots, and have already processed almost 9,000 Elections Supervisor Katy Moore tells us early voter turnout is just over %23.

Moore reminds voters to make sure they get their ballots in the mail on time, she said any ballots postmarked after November 4th will not get counted in the November General Election. “I did a quick survey of the post offices in our county asking what time they change the postmark date on mail. The times are different depending on if the mail is dropped off at the local post office or put in one of their blue collection boxes.”

Mail ballots dropped off after the cutoff time are postmarked with the NEXT day’s date.

City                   Post Office Cutoff            Collection Box Cutoff

Aberdeen                 5 p.m.                                    1 p.m.

Hoquiam                   5:00                                       1:00

Cosmopolis              5:00                                       1:00

Montesano              5:00                                       1:30

Elma                           4:00                                       2:00

McCleary                  3:30                                       1:30

Ocean Shores          4:30                                       11 a.m.

Moore adds “You made the effort to vote and put the ballot in the mail. Make sure it counts by putting it in the mail early enough to be dated correctly!”

If do wait until the last minute, make sure your ballot is counted by putting it in one the drop box locations around the county, they are kept open until 8 p.m. on election day.

Grays Harbor County voters approve Public Hospital District #2

Grays Harbor County voters have adopted a second Public Hospital District according to preliminary results from Tuesday’s Primary Election. Grays Harbor County Auditor Vern Spatz tells us with 31% voter turnout, 61% voted for the hospital, 38% against.
Running down the list of Commissioners for the newly-formed district is Mary Welch, Armando Juarez Jr., Miles Longebaugh, Andrew Bickar, Pete Scroggs, Bob Torgerson, and Ryan Farrer.

The race for Grays Harbor County Commissioner of District 3 continues to be close, with Vickie Raines holding 33.3%, Al Smith at 26.5 and Keith Olson at 25.2%.

County Assessor Rick Hole is trailing for his seat, with just under 30% of the votes, Dan Lindgren leads with 43% and Loni Hooper is a close third at 27%

Russ Skolrood is leading with 48% votes for his District 3 PUD Commissioner seat, John Straka trails with just under 27%

all levies appear to be passing except McCleary rejecting two levies to fund their police service.

Incumbent Congressman Derek Kilmer, and Incumbent State Representative Brian Blake both hold over 60% of the votes for their seats, while State Rep. Steve Tharinger is holding 55% for his District 24 seat.

The next ballot count is scheduled for Friday, results will be certified on the 19th.
Pacific County reports 38% voter turnout so far, their single levy is passing with over 74% support for Fire District #5.
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler holds a thin lead for her District 3 seat with 48%, Bob Dingethal follows with 38%

All local school levies now passing as Oakville pulls within 1 vote

With a new batch of ballots counted Thursday, the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office reports Oakville School District is now passing their multi-county M&O Levy, by one vote. In Lewis County, the levy is failing 8-3, but Grays Harbor’s stronger support pushed yes votes over the top; 207 to 206 – total for the two counties.
The new ballots brought Grays Harbor’s voter turnout up to 36% for the February Special Election. Hoquiam is among 12 area school districts showing support for their levies School Superintendent Mike Parker said “I’d like to thank the Hoquiam community for supporting our school levy again, with a strong 66% “Yes” vote, we will continue to make you proud, thank you.”
School Districts in Aberdeen, Hoquiam, North Beach, McCleary, Elma, Quinault, Cosmopolis, Wishkah, Ocosta, and Mary M Knight are all passing their M&O Levies.
Elma Voters are rejecting the 8.4 million bond measure to replace the grandstands at Davis Field. Election results will be certified on the 25th.

Former councilman wins posthumously, Transit tax finishes with over 70% support

MONTESANO, Wash. – With results certified at the county auditor’s office, Voter turnout for Grays Harbor finished at 48.35% for the November General Election.
In Aberdeen, Incumbent city councilman John Smith trails to Tawni Andrews by 9 votes, while incumbent Alice Phelps leads over Roberta Myers by 42. The memory of John Erak holds 26 more votes than appointed incumbent Alan Richrod. Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson explained to council this week “The fifth ward will have a vacancy, we will take letters from candidates, and on the December 11th council meeting we will have interviews and vote that night.
On the Hoquiam side, Richard Pennant leads by 8 votes over incumbent council John Weidl and Denise Anderson leads by 44 votes over incumbent Brenda Carlstrom.
Incumbent Port Commissioner Chuck Caldwell finished with over %70 of the vote, as did a vote to support the Grays Harbor Transit Authority with a sales tax increase.
Election results are available online at http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/graysharbor/

Commissioner asks would the non-voters please shut up

MONTESANO, Wash. – The latest ballot count at the county auditor’s office shows few changes to election results expected to be certified on the 26th. Voter turnout for Grays Harbor is at 48.2% for the November General Election. Now that your ballots are in, Grays Harbor County Commissioner Frank Gordon has a sentiment he’d like to share “All of you out here that are bitching, unless you got a stamp on your hand or something that shows that you voted please shut up.
Gordon said on Coffeetalk yesterday “You people that sit and complain but don’t get involved, you can mail it. If you have a problem on the next [election] call and I’ll come and pick it up and mail the sucker for you. But you know our country will go down the tube if we don’t have people involved.
The commissioner is expecting to take more heat in the coming months as the county faces a tough budget with support for an unpopular levy shift that could again move as much as a million from the county’s road fund into their general fund. “We’re going to try to take as little as possible, I know the mayors and stuff hate it. I hate shifting money from one fund to the other because then it cuts some of the work that the road fund can do, but we have to keep our offices open.”
Commissioner Herb Welch has voted for the shift in the past, and each time said he would rather avoid it, Commissioner Wes Cormier is against the idea.

Washington Voters’ Pamphlets mailed out this week

Secretary of State Kim Wyman points out that this year’s election should matter to voters because these local races can have a huge impact on them and their communities.

“The outcome of this year’s election affects the quality of your schools, your roads, your ports and fire districts, and all kinds of local services. This election will affect your family in a very direct way, so I encourage all Washington voters to vote in this election, and I encourage you to study the Voters’ Pamphlet as you fill out your ballot so you can make an educated and informed choice.”

A few factoids about this year’s Voters’ Pamphlet:
• The Elections Division is mailing it to 3.2 million households throughout Washington. There is no opt-out list for the Voters’ Pamphlet. It is delivered to every household in the state as required by the Washington Constitution. Mailing to all households is the most cost-effective way to deliver it.
• It’s printed in 18 regional editions, including in Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish (as required by federal law). Voters in Adams, Franklin and Yakima counties receive bilingual (English/Spanish) editions.
• Accessible audio and text formats are available for voters who are blind or have limited vision. Go here if you need the Voters’ Pamphlet as a plain text, audio or Word document file.
• Additional copies of the printed Voters’ Pamphlet are available in County Auditor offices, libraries, post offices, long-term care centers and disability service centers.
• The average number of pages, not counting the bilingual versions, is only 32, making it smaller than average for an odd-year General Election. And it’s much smaller than last year’s pamphlet, which typically ranged between 120 and 168 pages, with two bilingual editions carrying a whopping 240 pages or more.
• Our office does not fact-check our correct statements or arguments by candidates or ballot measure committees. They are printed as submitted.

You can also study the candidates and ballot measures on this fall’s ballot by viewing the online Voters’ Guide.  In addition, our Elections Division and TVW have teamed up to offer the 2013 Video Voters Guide, which provides pro and con arguments on I-517 and I-522.

The Voters’ Pamphlet cover features images from the Grand Coulee to Grunge exhibit shown in the Secretary of State’s front office in the Legislative Building on Olympia’s Capitol Campus. (Come check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.) The back cover of the Voters’ Pamphlet includes the artwork by Amy Shell, the winner of this year’s Kids’ Art Contest. Amy is now a sixth-grader attending Highland Middle School in Bellevue.

Primary Election results show support for local EMS

MONTESANO, Wash. – With a 17.7% voter turnout for the Primary election, both of Westport’s EMS Levies are passing, as well as Fire District 3 and 14 EMS levies.
In Aberdeen, Michelle Barclay will face incumbent councilman Denny Lawrence.
Karrie Fruen challenges incumbent Drew Hooper for Hospital Dist. 1 Position 3.
The County Auditor reports the next ballot count will be Friday, results will be certified on the 20th, the General Election is in November.

County Auditor Vern Spatz diagnosed with cancer

MONTESANO, Wash. – Grays Harbor County’s Auditor Vern Spatz will be taking some time off in the coming months, as he begins his fight with cancer. “So he’s going to go into a treatment program, 7 weeks of Chemo, 7 weeks of radiation,” County Commissioner Frank Gordon gave an update at their regular meeting on Monday.

Gordon said they’d been in a run of bad luck with some of their employees recently, Commissioner Herb Welch was again absent from the meeting yesterday, he’s home now, recovering from heart problems found last month.

Hot August, Not-So-Hot Primary?

Some of the hottest races are in King County, including Seattle’s seven-way race for County Executive as well as the mayor’s race; Ostrom says there are plenty of others.

"In Snohomish County, there are some important races between candidates who are focused on protecting rural areas and quality of life, and other candidates who are more pro-development. In Whatcom County, there are some real important races too, between some progressive candidates and folks who are more conservative.

Washington voters should have received ballots by now. For those who haven’t, it’s time to call the county auditor’s office and request one. The Washington Secretary of State’s office has contact information for all county auditors and election departments listed online at www.secstate.wa.gov. Pierce County is the only Washington county that still has polling places.

Fuse Washington puts out an online voters guide, which Ostrom says includes information about the candidates’ backgrounds and who has endorsed them. It’s at progressivevotersguide.org.

County Auditor Talks Cuts With County Commissioners

Proposed cuts in the auditors office could affect customer service in the licensing and the recordings area

(in the attached audio)

Spatz also suggested the commissioners review the hours that the county courthouse is open, allowing the remaining auditors staff more time to prepare for courthouse-related customers.