San Juan County voter turnout to date: 39.5 percent

Some 4,352 ballots have been received in the Elections Office by Tuesday morning, about 39.5 percent of the ballots mailed to voters for this primary election.

The low turnout thus far prompted Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller to predict — hopefully — a 50 percent voter turnout in today's primary. San Juan County voter turnout in the Sept. 19, 2006 primary was 55.34 percent; in the Sept. 20, 2005 primary, 54.54 percent; in the Sept. 14, 2004 primary, 55.45 percent.

Ballots were mailed to 11,040 registered voters in the county for this primary. On the ballot: Congress, District 2; governor, lieutenant governor and other state offices; state Supreme Court; state House and Senate, 40th District; San Juan County Superior Court judge; San Juan County Council, Orcas West; and San Juan County Council, San Juan South.

Election results will be reported tonight on

Ballots must be postmarked today; San Juan County votes by mail. Drop-off sites for ballots are located at:

-- Elections Office, 55 Second St., Suite A, Friday Harbor.

-- 24-Hour Drop Box outside the Courthouse, Second Street entrance, Friday Harbor.

-- 24-Hour Drop Box outside the Orcas Senior Center, 62 Henry Road, Eastsound.

-- 24-Hour Drop Box outside Lopez Island Fire District No. 4 office, Fisherman Bay Road, Lopez Village.

It's a historic election. For the first time, county residents will elect their own Superior Court judge; we formerly shared judges with Island County. Vying for the four-year term are Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord and Superior Court Judge John Linde; Linde was appointed to the position last year by Gov. Christine Gregoire after the position was created by the state Legislature. The judge's race will be decided in this election.

Also for the first time, the top two vote-getters in all other races, regardless of party affiliation or preference, will advance to the Nov. 4 general election. It's the first test of the state's Top 2 primary system.

Among those working to advance to the general election is San Juan County Councilman Kevin Ranker, the 40th District Democratic Party nominee for state Senate. Records are sketchy, but if he's elected in November, he'd possibly be the first state senator from San Juan County in about 100 years.

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