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County elections will never be the same without Loann Gulick

Loann Gulick, the election supervisor for Island County, works in the auditor’s office for the last time Thursday. She’s retiring after 34 years. - Courtesy photo
Loann Gulick, the election supervisor for Island County, works in the auditor’s office for the last time Thursday. She’s retiring after 34 years.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

When Loann Gulick started working at the Island County Auditor’s Office, people went to polling stations and wrote an “X” on paper ballots, then workers in the office tallied them by hand.

Clerks at the auditor’s office kept records in large ledgers with pen-and-ink entries.

It’s now 34 years and three months later and the election process has completely transformed, as has the technology of record keeping. Gulick, the election supervisor, has been the one constant in all those years, having served six different auditors. But now she’s finally ready to retire.

Thursday was Gulick’s last day at work, though her actual employment does not end for a month because she’s got vacation time to burn through.

Gulick, known for her no-nonsense personality, is one of those rare individuals who has lived on Whidbey Island her entire life. She was born in Coupeville, graduated from Coupeville schools and will live in Coupeville after she retires.

Gulick was first hired as a recording clerk when Dwayne Kemp was the county auditor, but soon moved to the elections side of the office.

“Working here has definitely been interesting because of the progress of the voting process,” she said.

Gulick has seen three different types of voting systems in her years with the office. After the hand-tallied paper ballots, the county progressed to punch-card voting and then the current mail-in voting system.

Gone are the days of candidates nervously waiting for results in the hallway outside the auditor’s office. Nowadays, the office has election counts posted on the auditor’s website about five minutes after polls close.

Her shoes are well worn, but they will be hard to fill.

“Loann is a true professional, she is a delight to work with, and has high standards and expectations. She has transitioned Island County elections through three different ballot styles efficiently and effectively. Loann has the mainstay in county elections for more than 32 years,” Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider said.

“We thank Loann for her service and wish her the very best in her retirement. She will be greatly missed by our staff and the voters of Island County.”

 

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