Langley council election makes history

Langley residents voted for change in what will become known as a historically significant election.

Langley residents have voted for change in what will likely become known as a historically significant election, with the first person of color and first write-in candidate to win seats on the city council.

As of 6 p.m. Thursday night, Harolynne Bobis held a wide margin over Kay Kenneweg in the race for Langley City Council, Pos. 1. Bobis had 461 votes, or 78% of the vote.

Bobis said it’s significant that the council will have an African American woman as a member.

“I think that’s a pretty big deal,” she said. “Langley’s at an inflection point, and I think people were ready to see where this takes us.”

She credits her involvement in the community, from the city’s Dismantling Systemic Racism advisory group to the HUB after-school program, in helping to get her elected.

Although it’s not clear yet just how many votes Gail Fleming received, the write-in candidate is confident she may have earned enough to secure her lead in the race for Pos. 5 on the city council.

There are currently 430 uncertified write-in votes, which is more than the other two candidates on the ballot have earned. If all those votes are for Fleming, she has 71% of the vote. Scott Chaplin, who removed himself from the race when he was appointed as the city’s mayor, still received a total of 93 votes.

Fleming’s opponent, Tony Gill, appears to have the least amount of votes at 82.

Island County Elections Supervisor Michele Reagan said write-in votes are tabulated at certification, which is Nov. 23 this year. Until then, all write-in votes are reported as a single total, called uncertified write-ins.

If the total number of write-in votes for an office is more than the apparent winner of the race, the individual write-in votes will be tallied.

Fleming attributed her alignment with Bobis and Rhonda Salerno, who ran unopposed for Pos. 2 on the council, as helping to potentially earn her enough votes to win.

“Probably anyone who voted for Rhonda and Harloynne, also voted for me,” she said.

She expressed amazement at the fact that Chaplin received as many votes as he did, since he withdrew from the race.

“I guess some people didn’t get the message,” she said.