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Council candidates online, not in voters’ guide

You’ll have to turn to the Internet to read statements from several San Juan County office-seekers

The voters guide for the Aug. 19 primary election recently began arriving in local mailboxes.

But if you’re looking for information about candidates running for San Juan County Council, don’t bother. It’s not there.

Published by the Secretary of State’s office, the primary election guide circulated locally — Edition 25 — contains information about candidates vying for the District 2 congressional seat, the 40th District Legislature, state Supreme Court and San Juan County Superior Court.

Local voters can, however, find statements from most candidates vying for District 1 and District 4 (San Juan South and Orcas West) council positions by going online at the local Elections Division’s Web site, www.sanjuanco.com/elections. (Candidates had until June 20 to provide information for the Web site prior to the primary election).

Since only two candidates are running for the District 3 council seat, Friday Harbor, both will advance to the general election under the state’s new Top 2 primary election system.

Auditor Milene Henley, who manages local elections, said the county normally does not publish a primary election pamphlet either by itself or in partnership with the Secretary of State. It does produce a guide for the general election, however, and voters, Henley said, can expect information about the candidates who advance in their respective council races as a result of the primary.

“There will be one for the general election,” she said.

Dave Ammons, communications director for the Secretary of State, said that publishing a primary-election guide is a departure from the past for the office that oversees elections statewide. He said state lawmakers allocated funding for the guide as part of an effort to help educate voters about the state’s new Top 2 primary system.

It’s up to a county, Ammons said, to decide if it wants to partner with the state in publishing and circulating local voters’ guides.

“Some counties do, but lots of them don’t,” he said.

The Aug. 19 primary, Ammons noted, is the third consecutive election in which voters will select candidates via a different method since the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the state’s former “blanket primary.”

“We want to get the word out because it really is a simple system but we’ve had different types of primaries the last three years,” Ammons said. “We’re back to what effectively works as a blanket primary.”

Ammons added that the Secretary of State’s Web site has a new feature, called MyVote, through which voters can determine, among other things, the issues, races or elections on which they are entitled to cast a vote.

Visit www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/

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