Election Day: Ballots due at 8 p.m.; Henley predicts voter turnout of 75 or 80 percent

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Among other decisions, San Juan County residents will choose their first new sheriff in 24 years and will decide whether to ban
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Among other decisions, San Juan County residents will choose their first new sheriff in 24 years and will decide whether to ban 'safe and sane' fireworks.
— image credit: File art

Today is Election Day. Ballots must be postmarked today or dropped into an Elections Department drop box by 8 p.m. at one of the following locations:

— At the Elections Office, 55 Second St., Friday Harbor.
— Outside the County Courthouse, Second Street entrance, Friday Harbor.
— Outside the Orcas Island Senior Center, 62 Henry Road, Eastsound.
— Outside the Lopez Island Fire District 4 Office on Fisherman Bay Road.

After the votes are counted, islanders will have their first sheriff in 24 years — Lead Detective Brent Johnson or Deputy Rob Nou. Safe and sane fireworks will be banned or will be legal. Councilmembers Rich Peterson of North San Juan and Bob Myhr of Lopez/Shaw will be reelected or will be replaced by educator Laura Jo Severson and Lopez Port Commissioner Jamie Stephens, respectively.

San Juan County voters will also help decide who will serve in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and state House. They will help decide whether to create an income tax on the top wage-earners in the state.

The 40th District will have a new representative in the state House from position 1: Anacortes School Board President Kristine Lytton, Democrat; or Mount Vernon real estate agent Mike Newman, Republican. One will succeed Dave Quall, who is retiring. will cover the election — who the winners are and what their election means — when polls close tonight. Final results and updated stories will be published in the Nov. 10 edition of The Journal.

Ballots began pouring in early last week. Elections Assistant Carlys K. Allen said 11,590 ballots were mailed out. By Oct. 25, the Elections Department had received 2,456. By Oct. 27, 3,580 ballots had been processed with another 330 more received.

Going into Election Day, the turnout was about 52 percent and County Auditor F. Milene Henley was predicting a voter turnout of 75 or 80 percent.

"The turnout has been slow, but that usually happens when there's a lot of referendum. People like to take their time and study those, and that's good," she said.

Secretary of State Sam Reed was predicting a statewide voter turnout of 66 percent.

The county will certify the results on Nov. 23, the state on Dec. 2. The winners will take office on Jan. 1.

Sheriff-elect will attend state meeting
The transition in the sheriff's office will begin shortly after the election.

Sheriff Bill Cumming, who chose to retire after six terms, said he and his successor will attend the annual meeting of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, Nov. 16-18 at Campbell's Resort, Lake Chelan.

He expects that the time between the election and when his successor takes office will be a time of orientation. "I will be totally available. He will probably be in and out of my office very frequently ... We will be going over the budget in detail, how we arrived at certain numbers, what to expect. And I'm sure he will be strategizing how to operate within that budget."

The sheriff serves a four-year term and earns $97,514 a year. The sheriff manages a staff of 36 full-time employees and a budget of $2.3 million, which includes: $719,219, dispatch; $472,888, Enhanced E-911; $398,920, jail; and $209,615, Emergency Management.

Looking ahead to his last day on the job, Cumming said he expects an anticlimactic end to his tenure. "I will probably have to ask for a ride home."

— ONLINE: Online voters guide.

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