Nation goes for Obama/Biden ticket, county for Romney/Ryan

Tonasket tax, Oroville school levy trailing

OKANOGAN COUNTY – While the U.S. cast its vote to return Barack Obama to the Whitehouse for a second term, Tuesday’s unofficial election-night results show that Okanogan County voted with most of the nation’s rural areas and favored Republican challenger Mitt Romney by a wide margin.

County voters also favored Republicans for U.S. Senate, Representative and Washington State Governor. Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, the incumbent, easily survived a Republican challenge and Republican Rep. Doc Hastings (back on the county ballot after redistricting) won against a Democrat. However county favorite Rob McKenna (R) was trailing Jay Inslee (D) statewide by a narrow margin for the governor’s mansion. McKenna had not conceded the race on election night and vowed to wait and see how further vote counts played out.

Okanogan County cast more votes for Republicans in every other state office. This included casting the majority of their ballots against Democrat Peter Goldmark for a return as public lands commissioner, even though rancher Goldmark calls Okanogan his home. Statewide, however, Goldmark was easily returned to office.

County Commissioner

It looks like the Republican has won the Okanogan County Commissioner seat for Position 1. Sheila Kennedy was leading with a nearly 60 percent election-night count against Democrat Albert Roberts. In the race for Position 2 the final outcome is not as clear. Republican Ray Campbell has 50.6 percent of the ballots cast, while fellow Republican and incumbent Don “Bud” Hover had 49.4 percent. With just 92 votes separating them, the election is still statistically too close to call.

Ballots Not Counted

Only the votes that were in by Monday, Nov. 5 (12,847) were counted so there are still several ballots that came in Tuesday that need to be processed by election officials in the auditor’s office, as well as any that were postmarked by election day Tuesday, Nov. 6, but are still trickling in. Of the 21,344 county ballots, 8,497 were still out as of Monday. The next vote count is scheduled on Friday, Nov. 9, with results posted on the auditor’s website by 5 p.m., according to elections official Mila Jury, with the auditor’s office. The election will be certified on Nov. 27, adds Jury.

EMS District Levies

Both the City of Oroville’s Proposition No. 1 Emergency Medical Care and Ambulance Service Levy and Oroville Rural EMS Levy were winning at the polls by big numbers on election night. So far the city proposition has 65 percent approval of the 429 votes counted. The rural proposition was doing even better with nearly 68 percent of the 1026 votes cast in favor. There are still nearly as many votes that have not been counted in the city measure, 406, while 621 of the rural ballots are still out.

City of Tonasket Tax

With less than half the ballots out counted by election night, Tonasket voters were rejecting Proposition No. 1 a Sales and Use Tax Levy within the city. A total of 54.4 percent were saying no to the Levy, while 45.6 percent were voting for approval. Of the 524 ballots mailed out to Tonasket residents, 228 have been counted and 296 are still outstanding.

A similar proposition in Okanogan is more evenly spit with voters against having a less than one percent edge over those for the measure.

Oroville School Capital Projects Levy

So far it’s too close to say for sure whether the Oroville School District’s Proposition 1, a three-year Capital Projects Levy to replace the elementary school roof has passed or failed. “No” voters had a fractional lead over those saying “yes” to a new roof. Of the 1455 votes counted 514 votes, 49.4 percent, are voting approval while 526, 50.6 percent are against. There still a potential 1027 votes that remain to be counted. Approving the proposition which would raise $1.2 million to replace the leaky problem roof.

State Measures

Marijuana – In what may or may not seem a less conservative move, or maybe more libertarian, the county, like the rest of the state, thinks it’s about time to change the way marijuana is dealt with in the state. Washington and Colorado were the first two states in the nation decriminalizing personal marijuana use; Oregon, the first state to legalize medical marijuana, failed a similar measure that would make it legal for recreational use. In Washington I-502 licenses and regulates marijuana production, distribution and possession for persons over 21; removes state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; taxes marijuana sales; and earmarks marijuana-related revenues.

County voters agreed with I-502 with 51.6 percent approval, compared to statewide totals were voters cast 55.4 percent in favor.

Same-sex marriage – The measure to approve same-sex marriage was a different matter within the county. The election night count had the state saying “I do” to Referendum 74 by 51.7 percent, while the county said “I don’t” by 62 percent of its voters.

Public Charter Schools – The county and state voters also disagreed with public funding for charter schools. While state voters are giving a passing grade to I-1240 by a little over one percent for approval. Okanogan County voters would fail the initiative by about two percent.