PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County residents had sent in 431 completed ballots as of Friday in elections for two school levies on Tuesday.
Voters in the Brinnon School District are being asked to consider continuing to pay the same tax levy they paid in 2017 — with a cost of living increase in 2019 — while voters in the Queets Clearwater School District near Forks are being asked to consider a maintenance and operations levy that would extend through 2021.
As of Friday, 418 voters out of 1,012 registered had returned ballots in the Brinnon School District for a voter turnout of 41.3 percent. In the Queets Clearwater School District, 13 of 104 voters had returned ballots, a turnout of 12.5 percent.
Under the proposal, in 2018, the Brinnon School District would levy $1.16 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning the owners of a $200,000 home could expect to pay about $232. That is expected to raise $314,681 for the district.
In 2019, the Brinnon School District would levy about $1.19 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning the owners of a $200,000 home could expect to pay $238. That is expected to raise $320,975.
Officials have said replacing the levy would help programs such as the district’s free preschool for Brinnon residents, a program that provided six swimming lessons for each of the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school’s approximately 69 students and allows the district to have meals prepared on site.
The Queets Clearwater School District maintenance and operations levy would collect about $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation and would raise $75,000.
That would cost about $300 for a $200,000 home.
So far almost 39 percent of the 1,116 voters in Jefferson County have returned their ballots, said Elections Coordinator Betty Johnson.
Ballots must be mailed or put in one of the county’s drop boxes by 8 p.m. Tuesday to count in the election.
The drop boxes open for this election are at the Brinnon Community Center, Quilcene Community Center and Jefferson County Courthouse 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend. Drive-up drop box is in the lot off Franklin Street.
Last week officials discovered that due to a software error at the state Department of Licensing, about 7,000 voters statewide who thought they were registered to vote weren’t actually registered.
This was a problem for two voters in Brinnon, Johnson said. As soon as the state made the county aware of the problem, Johnson mailed the two voters their ballots.
“Their ballots went out as soon as we knew,” she said. They were mailed on Tuesday.
In addition to the 431 ballots received, eight ballots have been challenged because the signatures didn’t match, Johnson said. Those voters have until the end of the business day Feb. 22 to get back to the county, she said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].