Election certification yields wins for write-in candidates

Voter turnout this year in Island County was 49%, well above the state average of 39%.

The certified results of the 2021 general election contained some unprecedented outcomes.

Voter turnout this year in Island County was 49%, well above the state average of 39%.

The results, which were certified Nov. 23, revealed that Gail Fleming, a write-in candidate, has emerged as the winner in a Langley City Council race governed by unusual circumstances.

Tony Gill and Scott Chaplin both originally filed for Pos. 5 on the council during candidate filing week in May. Since he was appointed mayor of the city in June, Chaplin withdrew from the race, although his name still appeared on the ballot — and some people still voted for him. Fleming stepped up to run as a write-in candidate shortly after Chaplin became mayor.

Fleming received the majority of votes in the race, with a total of 459, or 69% of the vote. Chaplin still earned 105 votes, or 16%. Gill got 97 votes, or 15%.

“I feel really humbled and grateful for the support,” Fleming said. “People had to go out of their way to vote, and they apparently did.”

She cited strong support from the community, as well as from the two women running alongside her for the other open seats on the council, as helping her to succeed as a write-in candidate.

It appears that Fleming was not the only candidate absent from the ballot to win in this year’s election. Diane Callahan, who campaigned as a write-in candidate for Pos. 3 for Ledgewood Beach Water District, earned 108 votes, or 75% of the vote, edging out her opponent on the ballot, Paul Dwight.

Besides the two write-in candidates, the certified results of the election held few surprises. Candidates in hotly contested school board races maintained their leads, as did those running for city councils, fire boards and other races.