Journal of the San Juan Islands


Hughes leads by 100 votes in District 2 council contest

April 23, 2013 · 9:51 PM

Rick Hughes / Contributed

Incumbent Rick Hughes gained an early lead in the District 2 County Council contest, a 100-vote advantage over opponent Lisa Byers.

With 5,818 ballots tabulated as of Tuesday, Hughes had 51 percent of votes counted, 2,831; Byers, with 2,731 votes, had 49 percent of the early April 23 countywide election results.

Voter-turnout as of Tuesday totals 49 percent, with 5,818 ballots counted and 11,952 registered voters. Updated results are expected Wednesday, by 5 p.m., with as many as 1,300 more ballots expected to be counted before final results are certified  on May 7.

Another 1,300 ballots would push total turnout up to 60 percent, which, according to Auditor Milene Henely, manager of local elections, would be a pretty healthy mark for an April election.

"Sixty percent would be astonishingly high for a spring election," she said.

Still, Henley the early trend to stand after the final results are totaled.

Tuesday's election follows on the heels of a series of changes to the county charter approved by voters in November, which reduced the size of the county council from six elected officials to three, redrew the legislative districts of the council from six to three as well, and instituted countywide elections for each of the newly created council positions.

In addition, changes to the charter turned those three council offices into full-time positions, eliminated the position of county administrator, and delivered responsibility for both legislative duties and day-to-day management of the county into the hands of the council.

As full-time legislators with executive powers, the three council members chosen in the April 23 election will each earn $75,000 a year, plus benefits.

— Scott Rasmussen


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