Conservation district extends ballot deadline to March 31

In-person voting today at Armory Square Mall

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam Conservation District has extended the deadline to March 31 for returning mail-in ballots after printing and mailing delays caused an unknown number of people to receive their ballots late.

“We have extended the time for people to return their mail-in ballots,” Conservation District Manager Kim Williams said Monday.

“This was a particularly competitive and engaged election. We sent out our ballots to get printed and mailed and they were delayed by five days due to unforeseen circumstances. Some people got their ballots 10 days late. So we just extended the deadline by 10 days.”

Today is the day for in-person voting at the district’s headquarters in the Armory Square Mall, 228 W. First St. in Port Angeles, for those who didn’t request a mail-in ballot, Williams said.

The district mailed out about 550 ballots and a couple hundred have been returned, but Williams didn’t know how many people were affected by the delays.

“This is just for the mail-in people. (Today) is in-person voting. You must be a registered voter in Clallam County. It’s just the postal service and printing was behind. It just added up,” Williams said.

District Election Supervisor Judy Minnoch posted the following on the district’s website, clallamcd.org:

“Under WAC 132-110-800, as of March 20, 2023, I am declaring an emergency due to the timely return of absentee ballots. It has been brought my attention that mail service is slower than usual in many areas throughout the district.

“This is in addition to the fact that they were mailed from the printers four days later than planned due to unforeseen circumstances. Clallam Conservation District will continue to receive ballots via mail or drop box through March 31, 2023. Absentee ballots will not be available after polls close at 8 p.m. (today).”

Incumbent Robert L. Beebe is facing off against challenger Wendy Rae Johnson for a seat on the district’s five-member board of directors.

According to the conservation district’s website, “Each Conservation District in Washington is governed by a five-member board, referred to as “supervisors.” Three supervisors are elected by registered voters in the district. Two are appointed by the State Conservation Commission.

“As dictated by state statute, at least two of the elected and one of the appointed supervisors must own land or operate a farm in the district. The term of office is three years, and supervisors serve without compensation. State statute also requires conservation district elections to be held in the first quarter of the calendar year.”

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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