Election day arrives
Next Tuesday, Nov. 8, it will be Election Day again. That's always an important day, but this year is an especially critical day for residents of White Salmon: There is an unusual three-way race for mayor, with appointed incumbent Roger Holen competing against current City Council member Penny White Morris and Douglas Charters, who works for SDS Lumber Co.
There are also contests for two of the five positions on the White Salmon City Council, with incumbent Susan Gookin being challenged by Timi Keene; and Larry Spencer running against Brad Roberts.
In Bingen, one of the five City Council seats will also have a contested race (incumbent Barbara Hylton is being challenged by Timothy Hearn), and there is a position on the White Salmon School Board up for grabs as well (incumbent Dan Rawding versus Kris Kreps).
There are also several interesting statewide ballot measures to be decided.
Our role in these local elections is not to try to advise any citizen how to vote on the ballot issues, or who to vote for in a specific office. We simply want to encourage everyone who is registered for this election to take the time and effort to vote, either via your mail-in ballots (these must be postmarked by Nov. 8 to be counted) or at the polling places.
This year, there is a level of confusion because, thanks to a computer glitch, the Auditor's Office sent out absentee ballots to some voters who did not want them. The error calls our voting processes a bit into question, but it's no excuse to sit the election out. Voting is vital to the health of our democracy, and caring citizens need to take the time to educate themselves about the various candidates and ballot measures and cast informed votes accordingly.
The future of White Salmon is literally on the ballot next week, as the mayor's office and the City Council will have a major impact on the direction of the community in years to come. It's essential that the city has a strong turnout. It is sad when 30-35 percent of the city's electorate can decide what happens for everyone else, but that situation can only be blamed on those who don't bother to cast their ballots. (Only 36 percent of the local electorate bothered to vote in 2003, the last time the mayor's office was on the ballot.) A heavy turnout would help let whoever is elected know that he or she has significant support within the city.
Along that line, it's an unfortunate situation that so many of us who work in White Salmon and live in the immediate community are not allowed to vote for the mayor and City Council candidates because we don't live within the actual city limits. Those of us in those boots have to sit back and watch while a handful of voters decide which way the city is going to go.
So, to White Salmon residents in particular this year, do us all a favor: Vote. Let's at least have a majority of registered voters making the decision on who will guide this great city.