School Levy pulls ahead, city EMS closes gap

Detro, Hawley, Noma and Hall still have comfortable leads

OKANOGAN – The second ballot count of the Nov. 6 General Election has breathed new life into Tonasket School District’s Capital Levy request as the ballots cast in favor of the proposition have slightly edged ahead of those that were against.

election-results-clipart-1As of election night, the Levy for Safety, Energy Efficiency and Infrastructure Improvements was lagging behind by more than 100 votes, but Friday’s count shows the measure has gained enough votes to squeak ahead by 13, or 50.32 percent in favor.

If it passes, these improvements would reconfigure entry/access to the schools, replace Heating Cooling and Air Conditioning (HVAC), boilers ad the elementary roof. It would also be used to upgrade technology and expand the shop facilities. Property taxes would be collected over a period of six years, from 2019 to 2024 at the rate of $1.40 per thousand in assessed property valuation. Collection amounts range from $716,283 in the first year and $791,387 in the final year. (See related story this page).

In the same vein, the Oroville Emergency Medical Care and Ambulance Service Levy has nearly pulled even with just 14 votes standing between it and approval. The first count had the measure trailing by 27 votes. Now the “yes” votes have increased to 211 with the “no” votes at 225. Approval of the six-year measure, which was set at $.35 per $1000 in assessed valuation would replace the outgoing six-year levy of $.25 per $1000. The ten cent raise over all previous EMS levies was approved by the city council before being placed on the ballot.

However, the Okanogan County Commissioners, realizing the increased cost of these emergency services, doubled the levy amount for the rural EMS District to 50 cents per $1000 and that might have been too much for rural EMS voters who have consistently approved the lower rate since it was first approved more than three decades ago. The Oroville EMS District is failing by 231 votes and must make up a lot of ground in the next ballot count which is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15.

Incumbent Okanogan County Commissioner Jim Detro (R) continues to lead the ballot for Position 3 against challenger Salley Bull (I) after the second ballot count. Detro’s ballots now stand at 7,086, 56.64 percent to Bull’s which are now at 5,424, 43.36 percent, a pick up of less than one percentage point over the first ballot count.

The same can be said for the race for Okanogan County Sheriff where Tony Hawley has a strong lead over challenger Steve Brown. Hawley’s vote count is currently 6,281 (55.41%) and Brown’s is 5,055 (44.59%). The candidates, both Republicans saw little change in the gap between them, with Brown narrowing the gap by only a fraction of a percentage point over the election day count.

For county prosecutor, Republican Arian Noma has 7,511 votes (60.47 percent) to Democrat Branden E. Platter’s 4,910 votes (39.43 percent). Again, Platter, the incumbent only picked up a fraction of a percentage in Friday’s vote count.

The pattern continues with the contest for Okanogan County Auditor, where Cari Hall has 7052 votes (65.91 percent) to fellow Republican Randy Gates 3,648 votes (34.09 percent). However, in the second count, Hall’s lead actually increased by a fraction of a point.

These results are unofficial at this point until the election is certified on Nov. 27. Altogether 13,301 ballots have been tallied. There are an estimated 3,960 ballots left to count, which does not include ballots that may continue to be received in the mail with a postmark on or before election day or ballots with signature issues that must be corrected before they can be counted, according to county election officials.

The county, as well as the whole Seventh District, continues to favor Republican incumbents in the contests for state Senate and House of Representatives. Shelly Short leads challenger Karen Hardy more than two to one in Okanogan County for a return to the Senate. Freshman Representative Jacquelin Maycumber and longtime Representative Joel Kretz also have over two-to-one leads over their challengers, Randall Michaelis and Mike Bell, respectively.

While the conservative majority in Okanogan County chose Republican Susan Hutchinson as their candidate for the U.S. Senate over Democrat Maria Cantwell, statewide, incumbent Cantwell enjoys a big lead over her challenger.

The county’s voters agreed with the rest of the Fourth Congressional District in wanting to send Republican Dan Newhouse back to the House. Newhouse has nearly double the votes of Democratic challenger Christine Brown.

The majority of the voters in Okanogan County were against I-1631, which would have added increased taxes to pay for certain pollution reductions in the state. Both Eastern and Western Washington agreed on the measure which failed to get the necessary votes. County and state voters also agreed on I-1634 Initiative Measure No. 1634 concerns taxation of certain items intended for human consumption. The voter made it impossible for cities and counties to enact new soda taxes.

The state and the county split on a I-940 a measure promoted as saving lives by improving de-escalation, first aid and mental health crisis training for all law enforcement officers in Washington. County voters weren’t buying it, however and the state at large was giving it a health approval as of the second ballot vote.

The county as a whole also voted against I-1639, while the state voted to approve the measure by over 60 percent. I-1639 raises the legal age to buy any semi-automatic rifle to 21, from 18. People wanting to buy a semi-automatic rifle must also pass an enhanced background check, show proof they have taken a firearms-training course and wait 10 business days before they take possession of the weapon.

The initiative broadly defines a semi-automatic rifle as one that uses energy from firing a cartridge to reload the chamber with the next round and requires a separate trigger pull to fire each bullet.

For complete results of how voters cast their ballots in Okanogan County see

For related story see Detro leading Bull for commissioner’s race



Cari Hall

Tony Hawley