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Ballots start to trickle in for Election Day

Marshall Goldberg and Anna Tamura remove ballots from their pink privacy envelopes while processing ballots this week at the county elections office in Coupeville.  - Brian Kelly / The Record
Marshall Goldberg and Anna Tamura remove ballots from their pink privacy envelopes while processing ballots this week at the county elections office in Coupeville.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

Last-minute jitters were in short supply — in fact, they were nowhere to be found — as candidates on next week’s ballot approached the end of the campaign trail.

The 2011 General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and several candidates said they were planning on a low-key effort during this final weekend before Election Day.

“I’m optimistic about Langley and I’m optimistic about my chances on serving the citizens of Langley on the city council,” said Jim Sundberg, who is running for Position 3 against Robin Adams.

Thomas Gill, who is running for Position 4 on the Langley City Council against R. Bruce Allen, said he had gotten a lot of positive feedback from residents and was feeling confident going into Tuesday.

“I don’t really feel that Election Day is really a ‘thing’ anymore, with everyone voting by mail,” Gill added.

Gill said he was still campaigning, however.

“I keep trying to spread my message of fairness, equality, and safety that had really been at the heart of my campaign,” he said.

Allen said he was confident, as well, about the upcoming vote.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Allen said.

“We’ve worked pretty hard on it. All we can do now is wait and see what they think,” he said of voters.

This year’s election features three Langley council seats and the mayor’s position up for grabs, but only Position 3 and 4 are contested races. Councilman Hal Seligson is running unopposed, as is mayoral candidate Larry Kwarsick.

The other big races on the South End are in Freeland, where Lou Malzone is challenging incumbent Nolen “Rocky” Knickerbocker for Position 3 on the board for the Freeland Water and Sewer District.

Malzone has been running in a dual campaign with Marilynn Abrahamson, who is trying to unseat incumbent commissioner Jim Short for Position 1 on the Freeland board.

The only other contested race on South Whidbey is for a board spot on the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District board, with Joel Gerlach and Jean Streitler for the Position 4 seat.

Most registered voters in Island County have yet to vote.

According to Island County Deputy Auditor Michele Reagan, as of Thursday, the elections office had received a total of 17,110 ballots. That represents about 36 percent of the county’s active, registered voters.

In this odd-year election, the vote is expected to follow historical trends, with turnout hovering around 60 percent. Turnout in the November 2009 election was 59 percent in Island County; in the November 2007 election, it was 60 percent.

According to a computer analysis of ballot returns by the Record, based on ballots returned through Wednesday, more women than men have already returned their ballots. About 52 percent of ballot returns so far have been from women, with 48 percent from men.

The analysis also shows that the older a voter is, the more likely that person has already sent their ballot to Coupeville to be counted.

A total of 62 percent of the ballots returned so far are from voters 60 and older.

Most of the rest of the ballots already in Coupeville, about 19 percent, are from voters age 50 to 59.

Only 7 percent of the ballots received so far are from voters under 40.

Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider reminded voters that ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 8 to be counted.

Ballots can be mailed, dropped off in person at the county elections office at 400 N Main St. in Coupeville or placed in the ballot drop boxes at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland, at the elections office (inside or at the curbside drop box) in Coupeville, and at the Oak Harbor School District Office in Oak Harbor on Election Day.

Election results will be posted on the county auditor’s elections website and Secretary of State’s website between 8 and 9 p.m. Nov. 8.

Voters who have not received a ballot can call the elections office at 360-679-7366 or email elections@co.island.wa.us.

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