Races reach final stretch

"Tuesday is D-day for political candidates, ranging from those running for president all they way down to those desiring a seat on the Island County Board of Commissioners.Months of campaigning will come to an abrupt halt Nov. 7 when voters go to polls and decide to start new political careers, end old ones, and let others continue.Polling places in Island County will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Of course, many residents have already voted by absentee ballot. Some 20,000 people, comprising about half the county's electorate, now vote by mail. Nearly half of those ballots had been returned by the end of this week. The Island County Auditor's Office will count the returned absentees on Tuesday, and then wait days until the rest trickle in. As long as they have been postmarked no later than Nov. 7 they will be counted. The county canvassing board will certify the election results on Nov. 22.Local candidates will be just as nervous on Tuesday as Al Gore and George W. Bush. Island County voters live in the 10th Legislative District and Second Congressional District, both of which feature hot political races.In the 10th District, Senate incumbent Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, has faced a spirited campaign from Norma Smith, R-Clinton. For the House, incumbent Dave Anderson, D-Clinton, is caught up in a monumental battle with Barry Sehlin, R-Oak Harbor, who is seeking to return to the House. For the other 10th District House seat, Kelly Barlean, R-Langley, is seeking another term, but political newcomer John McCoy, D-Marysville, is hoping for an upset.The most combative Island County Commissioner race in recent years pits incumbent Mac McDowell, R-Oak Harbor, against Lynne Wilcox, D-Oak Harbor. For the other position, incumbent Mike Shelton, R-Langley, will probably have an easier time against William Rowlands, D-Clinton.If the exciting local races aren't enough to attract Island County voters to the polls, there's always the six statewide ballot initiatives, as well as statewide offices from governor on down. And, of course, every four years the country chooses a new president and vice president.Secretary of State Ralph Munro predicts an unusually high voter turnout Tuesday. Island County election results will appear in next Wednesday's Whidbey News-Times. -----------------Election issue to arrive lateThe Whidbey News-Times will be delivered a little late next Wednesday so we can include Tuesday night's general election results. Election results will also be available late Tuesday or early Wednesday on the Internet at "

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