40 percent of ballots expected by deadline

Returns called on track with previous elections; ballots due 8 p.m. Tuesday

By Kathie Durbin and Eric Florip

Published:

 

Clark County voters are on track to return 40 percent of ballots mailed by the time polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday — about the same rate they reached in the 2007 and 2009 elections.

As of Tuesday, county elections officials had received 41,326 ballots back out of 226,302 mailed — about 18.3 percent. That rate should more than double by Nov. 8, said elections manager Tim Likness.

“If you compare with 2009 and 2007, in both of those years we ended up with a little more than a 43 percent turnout,” Likness said.

“By this point in 2009 we had received a tad bit over 40 percent of the ballots back. By this time in 2007 we had received a little more than 38 percent of what we ultimately got back. We are right around 40 percent of the ballots we expect back.”

General elections in odd-numbered years generally focus on nonpartisan races to fill city, county, school board and special district positions. The 2011 election is unusual in that it will also decide a legislative seat. Appointed state Rep. Sharon Wylie, a Democrat, is facing Republican Craig Riley in a contest to fill the second year of former Rep. Jim Jacks’ 49th District term.

State, schools, C-Tran

Voters will decide three statewide initiatives, including a measure to privatize liquor sales in Washington, and two proposed constitutional amendments. They’ll fill three Vancouver City Council seats, council positions in the cities of Camas, Battle Ground, Washougal, Ridgefield, La Center and Woodland, and school board seats in the Vancouver, Evergreen, Battle Ground, Camas, Washougal, Ridgefield, Hockinson, La Center, Woodland, Green Mountain and Mount Pleasant school districts.

Voters within the C-Tran taxing district — Clark County’s incorporated cities and Vancouver’s urban growth boundary — will vote on a proposition that would raise C-Tran’s sales tax collection rate by 0.2 percentage point.

The agency says it needs the revenue to maintain existing bus service in Clark County. If approved, the tax hike would translate to an extra 2 cents on every $10 purchase subject to the local sales tax. Should the measure fail, transit officials say they’ll be forced to cut about 35 percent of total service to make ends meet when available reserve funds run dry. Opponents have questioned the agency’s efficiency, and argued that an already ailing economy can ill afford a tax increase.