Filing opens island's election season

As people enjoy the hot July weather, things are starting to heat up for the fall as candidates started filing for public office this week.

The filing period began Monday morning and candidates have until 4:30 p.m., Aug. 1, to file for office.

As of noon on Tuesday more than 30 people had filed for the various offices.

“It’s been very active,” said Suzanne Sinclair, auditor.

Oak Harbor Mayor Patty Cohen and three seats on the city council are up for election.

In Coupeville, Mayor Nancy Conard’s term is up along with all five members of the town council.

In addition to the municipal elections, numerous smaller entities such as water and fire districts have people up for election this year and provide another reason for citizens to go out and vote, Sinclair said.

For people wishing to file for a position that has a salary, then there is a fee of 1 percent of that position’s salary. There isn’t a fee for positions that don’t offer a salary.

If there are more than two candidates running for one office then a primary will be held Sept. 16 with the general election taking place Nov. 4.

To educate voters about the candidates running this year, a local voters pamphlet is expected to be mailed out.

The voting this year will take place on the county’s traditional voting machines. New voting machines are in store in coming years as the county has until Jan. 1, 2006 to be in compliance with the Help America Vote Act, an outcome of the “hanging chad” turmoil in Florida in 2000. Like Florida, Island County uses punch card ballots.

The county will hold meetings in the coming months to seek suggestions from the public on how to improve the voting process.

In addition, the county is also looking into new voting machines that are more accessible and easier to use, Sinclair said.

Votes had a sneak peek at video voting machines earlier this year during the Sno-Isle Regional Library System’s levy election.

Although the levy failed, Sinclair said she was pleased with how the borrowed County’s voting machines worked.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.

com or 675-6611.

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