Primary election Aug. 17; two top vote-getters will advance to Nov. 2 general election

The primary election is Aug. 17. The two top vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation or preference, will advance to the Nov. 2 general election. - Contributed photo
The primary election is Aug. 17. The two top vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation or preference, will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The ballots are out. The primary election — Aug. 17 — is just around the corner. And over at the San Juan County Elections Office, they’re preparing for a deluge.

Why? Because as of Wednesday morning, only 2,855 of 11,488 ballots mailed out for the primary had been returned.

While Washington’s Secretary of State Sam Reed anticipates a statewide voter turnout of no more than 38 percent, county Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller expects a far greater percentage will weigh in locally. A wide-open race for county sheriff is one reason.

“We’re hoping for something more like 60 percent,” Schaller said. “We do have a higher average turnout than most places in the state, and we have the sheriff’s race, which is pretty darn popular, and that’s countywide.”

In Washington state, the top two vote-getters — regardless of party affiliation or preference — advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

In addition to the sheriff’s race, the primary will determine the fate of a $27 million bond measure for Orcas Island’s public schools and will decide which two candidates advance in a pair of hotly-contested U.S. congressional races, two races for the state House of Representatives, a contested race for the state Supreme Court, and the Lopez/Shaw position on the San Juan County Council.

Here’s how to make sure your vote counts
Mailed ballots must be postmarked Aug. 17; local post offices will be closed by 3 p.m. Ballots can also be turned in by 8 p.m. Aug. 17 at any of three drop box locations. They can also be delivered to the Elections Office, 55 Second St., Suite A, Friday Harbor.

First new county sheriff in 24 years
It’s a big election.

Five candidates are vying to be the first new county sheriff in 24 years: Jeff Asher, a long-time sheriff’s deputy who received 2,363 votes in the 2002 election for sheriff; Brad Fincher, adult probation officer and chairman of the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition; Brent Johnson, lead sheriff’s detective and chairman of the county Veterans Advisory Board; Felix Menjivar, sheriff’s deputy and Friday Harbor Town Council member; and Rob Nou, sheriff’s deputy and former police chief of Burns, Ore.

There are three candidates for the Lopez/Shaw seat on the San Juan County Council: Jerry Gonce of Lopez Island, a retired city manager; Bob Myhr of Lopez Island, a County Council member seeking a second term; Jamie Stephens, a Lopez port commissioner.

On the state level, there are eight candidates for 40th District state House of Representatives, position 1: Thomas Boucher, a former congressional and legislative aide; Chuck Carrell of Burlington; Dusty Gulleson of Bellingham, owner of a technology company; Kristine Lytton, president of the Anacortes School Board; Donna R. Miller of Friday Harbor, a professional caregiver; Mike Newman, a Mount Vernon real estate agent; Tom Pasma of Bow, a horse rancher and 40th District Democratic Party chairman; and Justin Van Dyk, a political science student at Western Washington University.

There are three candidates for 40th District state House of Representatives, position 2: Jeff Morris of Anacortes, the seven-term incumbent who is also House speaker pro tem; Howard Pellett of Anacortes, Green Party chairman and retired IRS agent; and John Swapp of Anacortes, manufacturing engineer.

On the national level, there are five candidates for U.S. House of Representatives, District 2: John Carmack of Bellingham, engineer; Larry Kalb of Bellingham, president of Health Care for All; John Koster of Arlington, a Snohomish County Council member and congressional candidate in 2000; Rick Larsen of Everett, who has represented District 2 in Congress for five terms; and Diana McGinness of Bellingham, a retired insurance fraud investigator.

For U.S. Senate, there are 15 candidates, among them three-term incumbent Patty Murray, former state senator and almost governor Dino Rossi, and NFL tight end-turned-farmer Clint Didier.

To learn more about all candidates, view the Online Voters Guide, the Online Voters Guide.

Test Aug. 13 for vote-counting equipment
On Aug. 13 at 11 a.m., the county Elections Office will test the vote-counting equipment which will be used to tally mail-in ballots for the primary. The test will take place in the Elections Office, and is open to the public.

A representative of the Secretary of State’s Election Division will be present for the test.

Journal election coverage
Stories will be posted Election Night on Updated results will be published in the Aug. 25 Journal.

* * *

Here’s what you need to know to make sure your ballot is counted.

Post office hours
— Deer Harbor: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Eastsound: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Friday Harbor: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Lopez: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Olga: 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
— Orcas Village: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
— Shaw: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Ballot drop box locations
— San Juan County Elections Office, 55 Second St., Suite A, Friday Harbor.
— Friday Harbor: Outside the County Courthouse, Second Street entrance.
— Eastsound: Outside the Orcas Senior Center, 62 Henry Road.
— Lopez Village: Outside the Lopez Island Fire District 4 Office, Fisherman Bay Road.

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