Whidbey voters slow in returning election ballots early

With the earliest primary in state history, some people involved in political campaigns in Island County are concerned about voter participation for the Aug. 7 primary election.

A total of 9,758 mail-in ballots were returned to the county auditor’s office as of Aug. 1. That’s only about 18 percent of registered voters in the county, but was a jump from Monday when only 5,358 ballots were received.

Ballots were sent out to voters more than two weeks ago.

Jill Johnson, a county commissioner candidate, said she’s concerned about the possibility of low voter turnout.

“It can be hard to get your message out when you are competing with the sun,” she said.

It’s undoubtedly an important ballot for Whidbey Island voters to consider. Emergency Medical Services is asking for a renewal of a levy to keep ambulances on the roads.

For those who live in Commissioner District 1, voters will get the chance to narrow down five candidates to two. The incumbent, Helen Price Johnson, is facing Curt Gordon, Jeff Lauderdale, Ed Jenkins and Wayne Morrison.

In District 2, incumbent Commissioner Angie Homola is facing Jill Johnson, Jim Campbell and Phil Collier. Ballots must be returned or postmarked no later than Tuesday, Aug. 7.