Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Klickitat County Sheriff Chris Mace appears to have been tripped up by an "anti-incumbent" wave in the county's Republican Party primary.
Mace, who has served as the county's Sheriff for the past five years, was trailing challenger Rick McComas, a Goldendale resident with 27 years of law enforcement experience.
In unofficial and incomplete returns as of Wednesday morning, McComas was leading Mace, 1,592 votes (66.36 percent) to 803 votes (33.47 percent).
In the Republican primary for the Prosecuting Attorney's office, the race was too close to call. Challenger Julie Vance, the city of Goldendale's Prosecuting Attorney, had 1,143 votes (48.78 percent) as opposed to incumbent Tim O'Neill's 1,199 votes (51.17 percent). O'Neill has served as the county's Prosecuting Attorney since 2001.
With more absentee ballots yet to come in, there is no way to call a victor in the Prosecuting Attorney's contest as of Sept. 20.
The winner of both of the above primary races will serve for the next four years, as they will face no opponent on the general election ballot in November. No Democratic Party and no independent party candidate chose to run for these offices.
In the contest to determine the Democratic Party nominee for Klickitat County Commissioner in District 2, Marc Harvey had 98 votes (33.33 percent) to Chris Connolly's 195 votes (66.33 percent). The winner here will take on David Sauter, who was unopposed on the Republican side.
In the Democratic Party races in Klickitat County, counting of the votes was delayed by a problem with the "consolidated ballots." According to Pam Pimley, chief deputy auditor with the Klickitat County Auditor's Office, the section that has the Democratic Party candidates could not be read by the optical scanning machines. Pimley said the machines were reading all the Democratic Party ovals as being filled in.
"The blue section is being read as marked ovals on the absentee ballots," Pimley explained. "The blue was printed too dark."
Those ballots needed to be counted by hand.
In Skamania County's Republican Party primary for the nomination for County Commissioner in District 3, Tracy Wyckoff was topping Timothy Corner, 273 votes to 116 votes, in unofficial results.
In November, Wyckoff will take on Democrat Jamie Tolfree, who ran unopposed in the Democratic Party primary.
In the Underwood area, a levy lid lift to allow the Underwood Fire District (Fire District 3) to build a new fire station was passing with 152 "Yes" votes against 75 "No" votes.
The state of Washington has 39 counties, and 25 were using the "consolidated ballot" for the Sept. 19 primary.
In Klickitat County, it appeared that about 14.5 percent of the ballots had been improperly marked -- either with no political party checked or by casting votes for candidates in both parties. That disqualifies those particular ballots, although the non-partisan races the voter marked will still register.
In next-door Skamania County, which is a strictly vote-by-mail county, election officials used the multiple ballot system. With that approach, each voter got three ballots: one had the Democratic Party candidates, one had the Republican Party candidates, and one had the non-partisan races. According to an elections official with the Skamania County Auditor's Office, they were seeing a spoilage rate of less than two percent within the county. Voters who returned both Democratic and Republican partisan ballots would not have their votes counted.