General election ballots on the way

General election ballots in Grays Harbor County were mailed out Wednesday, two days ahead of the deadline. Pacific County ballots are due out, too. Voters should receive ballots by early next week.

There are three countywide items on the Grays Harbor ballot. One is a request to increase sales tax to restore weekend bus service by Grays Harbor Transit. There is a hot race for Grays Harbor Port Commissioner, essentially a referendum on crude-by-rail shipments in a contest between Charles Caldwell, who supports the proposal, and Ron Figlar-Barnes, who is adamantly against. The only other county-wide race is for sheriff, in which Rick Scott is running unopposed. A list of key races in both counties is provided at the end of this story.

Hot statewide issues include two initiatives: 517 and 522. I-517 addresses petition gatherers for state initiatives. And 522 involves labelling for genetically-engineered foods. There are also five non-binding advisory votes meant to inform the state House and Senate whether to repeal or maintain existing laws. The measures are explained in detail in state voter guides already mailed.

There is a contested mayoral race in McCleary and contested council races in Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Elma, McCleary and Ocean Shores. In Pacific County, there is a contested race for the Port of Willapa Harbor. School district races and local fire district funding measures are also on both county ballots.

The name of a deceased candidate will be on the Grays Harbor ballot, the first time in memory that has happened, said Katy Moore, the county election administrator.

Aberdeen’s Ward 5 city councilman John Erak died in office last summer. But by law, his name remains on the ballot and the votes for him will be counted. Alan Richrod had filed to run against Erak and was elected to the seat by the council to fill the remainder of Erak’s term. If Erak should get more votes, the council will be asked to seat a candidate.

If your Grays Harbor ballot somehow goes astray, you have a couple of options, said Moore. Pick one up in person in the Auditor’s office in the administration building in Montesano. Or use a “really cool thing,” the My Vote button at the bottom of the election page at the auditor’s website. Enter your name and confirm who you are with your birthday, print out the ballot, sign the declaration and send it in. Your vote will transferred to a duplicate ballot and your vote will be credited, she said.

You may only vote once, “you can’t print 10 votes,” Moore said. You may return your ballot by mail or drop it off at specific locations. If you are not registered, you have until Oct. 28 to walk in and do so at the auditor’s office.

If past experience holds true, ballots will be returned in waves. The first will hit right after ballots go out, and another will hit as the deadline approaches. Ballots must be postmarked Nov. 5 or dropped off in ballot boxes by 8 p.m. Two boxes are open 24/7, at the auditor’s office and at the Grays Harbor YMCA parking lot in Hoquiam. Other drop off points in Grays Harbor are in Oakville, McCleary, Ocean Shores and Westport. Double check hours and locations on either county website.

Ballots are processed as they come in, votes will be counted starting at 8 p.m. election night and be posted on the website within a half an hour or so.

On the Grays Harbor County ballot

Port Commissioner

Charles Caldwell

Ron Figlar-Barnes

McCleary Mayor

Chris Vessey

Donald Gary Dent

Joseph Chiaravalloti (official write in candidate)

Aberdeen City Council

Ward 1, Position 2

John R. Smith

Tawni Andrews

Ward 2, Position 4

Roberta Myers

Alice Phelps

Ward 4, Position 7

Elaine Redner

Kathi Hoder

Ward 5, Position 10

John Erak

Alan Richrod

Ward 6, Position 11

Denny Lawrence

Michelle Barclay

Elma City Council

Position 1

Jim Taylor

Pat Miller

Position 2

Earl Hari

David Blackett

Hoquiam City Council:

Ward 2, Position 4

Richard R. Pennant

John P. Wiedl

Ward 4, Position 7

Gregory Grun

Harold Delorme

Ward 5, Position 10

Denise Anderson

Brenda J. Carlson

McCleary City Council

Position 3

Lawrence Peterson

Doug Krikava

Ocean Shores City Council

Position 5

Jackie S. Farra

Troy W. Crawford

Position 7

Gordon H. Broadbent

Cathey Peterson

Westport City Council

Rob Bearden

Desiree Dodson

On the Pacific County ballot

Port of Willapa Harbor

Arthur Zeigler

Todd P. Stephens

South Bend City Council

Member #3

Cheryl Seals

Patricia (Pat) Neve

Member #5

Bob Hall

Kathy Balcom