PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County residents will receive important mail this week. Election officials are preparing to mail 25,094 Primary Election ballots to registered voters in 39 precincts on Wednesday.
According to Betty Johnson of the Jefferson County Elections office, 390 ballots also were sent to military and overseas civilians on June 21.
As an added incentive to return ballots by the 8 p.m. Aug. 7, voters won’t have to affix their own stamp to mail it back.
In May, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state will cover the costs of return postage for both the primary and general elections this year.
In partisan elections, all candidates will appear on the primary election ballots.
The top-two vote-getters will go on to the general election, Nov. 6. In non-partisan elections, such as judicial or public utility district, candidates will be on the primary ballot only if three or more filed for the office.
The top two will then go on to the general election.
Johnson reminds everyone there are two sides to the ballot.
She explained that the position of candidates’ names on the ballot are arrived at by a random drawing process.
County Commissioner District 3 has four challengers for a seat currently held by Kathleen Kler, D-Quilcene, who is not seeking reelection.
Only District 3 residents — Port Ludlow, Quilcene, Brinnon, Shine and Gardiner in East Jefferson as well as West Jefferson County — will vote on these candidates. The candidates are Democrats Greg Brotherton of Quilcene, Craig Durgan of Port Ludlow and Ryan McAllister of Brinnon, as well as Republican Jon Cooke of Quilcene.
The top two vote-getters regardless of part affiliation will move on the the general election in November where the vote will be countywide.
Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney and Coroner candidate James M. Kennedy, a Port Ludlow Democrat, is challenging incumbent Michael Haas, a Port Townsend Democrat.
In the sheriff’s race, Jefferson County Detective Sgt. Joe Nole, a Chimacum Democrat, is challenging incumbent David Stanko of Port Townsend, who filed with no party preference.
Incumbents Assessor Jeff Chapman, Auditor Rose Ann Carroll, County Clerk Ruth Gordon and Treasurer Stacie Prada are running unopposed.
The Chimacum School District is asking voters to approve a capital levy for improvements to facilities and technology and for safety. Only those in the district will vote, and if it passes, it will take effect in January.
The measure would replace the levy that is currently in place for the same amount which expires at the end of the year. The six-year levy would raise $1.3 million and is estimated to be $0.614 to $0.677 per thousand dollars of assessed value over six years. The levy requires 50 percent plus one approval for passage.
For U.S. Senator, incumbent Maria Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, faces 28 challengers. The top two vote getters will move on the to general election in November.
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, who represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes Clallam and Jefferson counties, is facing Republican Douglas Dightman and Progressive Party candidate Tyler Myles Vega.
In the Legislative District 24 State Representative Position 1, Jodi Wilke, a Port Townsend Republican, is challenging incumbent Mike Chapman, a Port Angeles Democrat for the state representative Position 1 seat. In Position 2, Jim McEntire, a Seuqim Republican, is challenging incumbent Steve Tharinger, a Sequim Democrat, for the Position 2 seat.
Johnson noted that candidates for district court judge and Jefferson County PUD will appear on the general election ballot this fall.
Also on the ballot are choices for precinct committee officer (PCO).
“There are a total of 60 candidates and 21 contested races,” Johnson said. “All precincts with the exception of precinct 503 had a Democrat file. Precinct 306 has a race with three candidates. There are 17 uncontested races so those candidates are deemed elected.
“As for the Republicans, there are eight candidates and no contested races, so all are deemed elected.”
Johnson said PCO elections are significant to the parties, yet people don’t understand them.
Based on the last two even-year primary elections, Johnson believes the ballot return rate will be similar.
“In 2016, the return was 48.44 percent. In 2014, it was 50.56 percent,” she said.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]