PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County voters are continuing their tradition of political involvement this election season as primary day approaches and they consider contested races for Port Townsend City Council and Port Ludlow Fire District 3 board of commissioners.
Primary election ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday or at the auditor’s office or in drop boxes throughout the county by that time.
The top two primary election winners will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.
A small number of Gardiner-area voters will cast ballots in races primarily in Clallam County for Sequim School Board and Sequim-area Fire District 3 board of commissioners, elections supervisor Quinn Grewell said Friday.
Quilcene-area voters will decide on a fire rescue levy for county Fire District 2 that would renew an emergency services property tax assessment of 50 cents or less for every $1,000 of property value paid by district property owners.
Jefferson had a 28.5 percent voter turnout as of Friday, second among 37 counties with primary elections in the state. A breakdown can be found at sos.wa.gov.
Jefferson County has 15,500 registered voters. Columbia County, with 937 registered voters, topped the list Friday with a 38.5 percent turnout.
Statewide turnout was 14.2 percent.
Jefferson County had a 90 percent participation rate in the general election on Nov. 3, 2020.
Grewell said Jefferson County could reach the 34 percent turnout level of past August primaries.
“Anything can happen on any given day as far as returns,” she said.
“There’s always a bigger influx that happens the weekend before the elections.
“Historically, odd-year primaries haven’t been super popular.
“I’m sure I’ll be busy [today] and even busier on Tuesday, and Wednesday, after the election, I can guarantee that.”
The highest vote-getter from among Port Townsend City Council Position 5 candidates Tyler Myles Vega, Libby Urner Wennstrom and Sky Hardesty-Thompson will proceed to the Nov. 2 general election. The four-year seat is being vacated by incumbent Pamela Adams.
Port Ludlow-area Fire District 3 incumbent Commissioner Ron Helmonds is facing a challenge from Mike Feely and Glenn T. Clemens for the six-year Position 3 seat.
Fire District 2 voters will decide on a levy that will continue, for six years, an annual levy of up to 50 cents per $1,000 of valuation in property taxes, amounting to up to $100 for a $200,000 home.
The levy would take effect in 2023.
The measure generates about $500,000 to the district and funds three full-time emergency medical services personnel.
Grewell said a couple of hundred Gardiner-area voters were mailed ballots for Sequim School Board and Sequim-area Clallam County Fire District 3 races for tax districts that overlap into Jefferson County.
Jeff Nicholas, Duane Chamlee and Sean Ryan are vying for a six-year Position 1 seat being vacated by incumbent Michael Gawley.
Sequim School Board candidates Derek Huntington, Virginia Sheppard and Rachel Tax are running for a four-year Position 4 seat being vacated by incumbent Brandino Gibson. Kristi Schmeck is on the ballot but has withdrawn from the race.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].