Ballots in the mail for Aug. 17 Primary Election

OKANOGAN – Ballots for the Aug. 17 primary election, went into the mail Thursday, July 29 and should be in the hands of all registered Okanogan County voters this week.

“If you have not received your ballot by Wednesday, Aug. 4, please contact the Auditor’s Office at (509) 422-7240,” said Mila Jury, Okanogan County elections official.

There will be several Okanogan County officess appearing on the primary ballot. However, in the election for Okanogan County Commissioner for District 3, which is mainly in the north part of the county, only voters in District 3 will be voting for one of the two candidates in the primary election, according to Jury. The candidates for commissioner, who both prefer the Republican Party, are Becki Andrist from Riverside and Jim Detro from the Crumbacher area south of Tonasket.

With longtime Court Clerk Jackie Bradley retiring, a three-way race for that job has developed. Cindy Gagne, who prefers the Democratic Party, will be up against Rae Jean Kelley and Charleen Groomes, who both say they prefer the Republican Party. Current sheriff Frank Rogers will face Dave Yarnell, a county deputy, in the primary election. Both candidates listed the Republican Party as their preferred party. There is also a two-way race for treasurer with incumbent Leah F. McCormack, prefers Democratic Party, facing Pamela Wyllson, who prefers Republican Party.

There are three offices with only one candidate on the primary ballot. These are assessor, with incumbent Scott Furman, a Democrat; auditor, with incumbent Laurie Thomas, a Republican and prosecutor, with Karl Sloan, a Democrat, seeking a return.

The Okanogan County District Court Judges and the PUD Commissioner for District 3 will only appear on the general election ballot, said Jury.

In the state’s seventh legislative district, which includes much of Okanogan County, incumbent senator Bob Morton, a Republican from Kettle Falls, has a Democratic Challenger, Barbara Mowrey, from Chewelah. The district’s two representatives, Shelly Short in Position 1 and Joel Kretz in Position 2, are unchallenged in this year’s primary election. Both incumbent candidates are Republicans.  

For federal office, incumbent U.S. Senator Patti Murray faces a number of challengers this election. The Democrat, will appear on the ballot with 14 other candidates, including four other Democrats, five Republicans, one Centrist Party, one Reform Party and two who list no party preference.

Although she doesn’t face as many, U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris has a few challengers of her own in Congressional District 5. There are four Democrats and one candidate who prefers the Constitution Party trying to unseat her.

Washington State has a Top 2 Primary Election system; this allows voters to vote for any candidate in each race. According to the state’s election Web site at www.sos.wa.gov/elections/Top2PrimaryFAQ.aspx, “The two candidates who receive the most votes in the Primary Election qualify for the General Election. A candidate must also receive at least 1 percent of the votes cast in that race. Candidates for partisan office may state a preference for a political party…. Or candidates can chose to not state a party preference. Regardless, the party preference information has no bearing on how the election is conducted or who is allowed to advance from the Primary to the General. Instead, which candidates are allowed to advance is based solely on how many votes they receive in the Primary.” 

According to the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office, in order for a voter’s ballot to count it must be signed and postmarked by the day of the election, Aug. 17, 2010. The Auditor’s Office at 149 3rd Ave. N, Okanogan is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Election Day only from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the following services.

  • Dropping off voted ballots
  • Obtaining replacement ballots
  • Disability Access Voting Units

Also on Election Day only, voters will be able to drop their ballot off at the Omak City Hall Council Chamber at 2 N. Ash St. The usual drop off site at the Omak Public Library was changed due to remodeling there, according to Jury.

The state does not put out a voters pamphlet for the primary election, said Jury. She suggests voters that wish to find out information about the candidates can use the following sources.

Online voters guide – www.vote.wa.gov, click on MyVote or okanogancounty.org, click on Auditor, then click on elections and then on the online voters guide.

  • Newspapers and radio
  • Candidate forums
  • Candidate web pages

Those not currently registered in the State of Washington can appear in person in the Auditors Office until Aug. 9 and register and be able to vote in the Primary Election. Voters with questions are encouraged to contact the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office at (509) 422-7240. For a complete list of candidates who have filed see: http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/okanogan/elections/Pages/CandidateFilings.aspx

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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