County scratches voter’s pamphlet

Island County’s printed and mailed voter’s pamphlets will be a victim of budget cuts.

Auditor Sheilah Crider said she will be able to save at least $20,000 from her budget by foregoing the costly documents, which are normally mailed to all residents.

“That’s half a person,” she said. “Our priority is to keep people.”

Like all county departments, the Auditor’s Office is facing the possibility of having to lay off staff in an upcoming round of budget cuts.

Still, the voter’s pamphlet will be available online at the auditor’s Web site, as it has been in the past. The pamphlet contains the photos and statements from local candidates, as well as information about ballot measures.

People who don’t have Internet access, Crider said, can always go to the library or senior center to read the pamphlet online.

Crider said sample ballots, identical to the real ones, will also be printed in the Whidbey News-Times, South Whidbey Record, Coupeville Examiner and Stanwood Camano News prior to the election.

Crider said her department is looking at every possibility for saving money in the tough economic times, as the county is facing a $2 million budget deficit. She’s looking into the cost of self-sticking envelopes, for example, over the old-fashioned kind.

“Everyone is certainly doing everything they can do to help,” she said. “We’re doing everything we can to provide the public with the best possible service while we make these draconian cuts,” she said.

Unfortunately, costs keep increasing for the county. Starting next year, the state has handed the expense of sending out overseas and military ballots to the counties. The ballots go out in oversized envelopes with return postage.

Beginning May 11, the price of a stamp will increase by 2 cents.

“It is just like the perfect storm. It really is,” Crider said.

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