Island County ballots arrive earlier than expected

Check your mailbox, Island County's primary ballots hit the mail more than a week ahead of schedule.

"We had them done early so we sent them out out," said an Island County Auditor's office employee.

Ballots must be mailed to voters at least 18 days before the election, according to Washington state law, but there's no rule against sending ballots out early.

The League of Women's Voters planned a candidate's forum for July 28 so voters may speak with Scott Dudley, Gerry Oliver and Mel Vance - the three candidates vying for one open Oak Harbor City Council position - and to learn more about the issues surrounding the proposed three-tens of 1 percent sales tax increase to maintain Island Transit's services. But the ballot's early distribution means voters may decide to cast their ballots before attending the forum.

"We try to time it so they come out approximately the same week," said Mendy McLean-Stone, League of Women's Voters president, Wednesday morning. "It would have been nice to have the candidate forum coincide with the ballot's arrival, but I don't think it's a huge monkey wrench in the works. Although it's not ideal, it's certainly not negative either."

The only disadvantage to the ballot's early arrival is that voters may return them right away, which is excellent, she said, but voters may change their mind if they attend the candidate forum. By then it'll be too late to change their vote.

Island County mail-in voters may cast their vote three ways: Mail the ballot with correct postage, submit it to a drop site designated by the Island County Auditor or return the marked ballot to the Auditor's office, 400 N. Main St., Coupeville, WA, no later than Aug 18 at 5 p.m.

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