Ballot issue causing delays in election results

Beating the deadline, Lath Rabieth places his ballot in the dropbox at the Skagit County courthouse complex Tuesday night as election workers Libby Bistodeau (with Rabieth) and Barb Knowlton collect the returns.

More than half the ballots Skagit County has received for this election remained to be counted as of Thursday night, but even as the results trickle in, there have been no real swings that would indicate changes in outcome.

Still, with an estimated 28,000 ballots yet to be counted, it’s possible the winners could change in a few races.

Both leaders of the county’s Republican and Democratic parties are closely watching the state House of Representatives races in the 10th Legislative District, where Democratic challenger Dave Paul is leading Republican incumbent Dave Hayes by about 800 votes.

“The only real surprise is Dave Hayes,” Republican Party Chairman Bill Bruch said.

Bruch said it’s still too early to call the race.

The county Elections Department has counted 25,863 ballots and estimates 28,000 remain. The estimate has risen each day as more of the mail-in ballots have arrived.

Both Bruch and Democratic Party Chairman Bob Doll said they were fairly confident that current results in most races will be indicative of final results.

“I would be nervous in any result that has less than 1,000 votes difference,” Doll said.

Also in the 10th District, Republican incumbent Rep. Norma Smith has a 2,842-vote lead over Democratic challenger Scott McMullen across the district. McMullen is 59 votes ahead of Smith among Skagit County voters.

Incumbent Laura Riquelme is maintaining her lead over Rosemary Kaholokula in the race for Skagit Superior Court judge with 1,371 votes separating them.

In the race for state Court of Appeals judge, Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez is still leading Tom SeGuine by 9,163 votes — 53 percent to 47 percent. But SeGuine is far ahead among Skagit County voters with 3,989 votes, nearly 60 percent, so the final result could be closer.

The Sedro-Woolley School Bond proposal was still failing Thursday by 319 votes.

More will become clear in coming days. Skagit County is lagging behind other counties in terms of ballots counted. The department attributed this to a crease in many of the county’s ballots, which interfered with computer scans.

Some races, though, are too far apart to imagine a change.

Gary Wickman, chair of Home Rule Skagit, is resigned to the failure of the county charter/freeholders measure.

As of Thursday evening, 66 percent of voters opposed the pursuit of a county charter.

“I’m hoping that it will get closer than it is, but I don’t think it will be enough,” he said.

Wickman said the group plans on gathering soon to debrief and decide when and how to campaign for a charter again in the future. He thinks the issue was confusing to some.

“It seems like part of it has to be that people don’t understand what saying yes does,” he said. “They’re not understanding voting yes is just the start of a conversation.”

When Home Rule Skagit tries again to pass a county charter, Wickman said the group will likely focus more on showing voters what problems exist in the current system.

“We didn’t really stress a lot on how (county government) is broken and how it affects us,” he said. “If we focused on the things that aren’t working well, maybe we’d be more effective.”

{p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”}

Load comments