County commissioner candidate Barca seeks signatures instead of paying filing fee

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 
photoRon Barca

A candidate for the Board of Clark County Commissioners plans to get his name on the August primary ballot by collecting signatures of registered voters, rather than paying a filing fee.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said it marks the first time in his 13 years in office that a candidate will submit signatures in lieu of paying a fee.

Filing fees go into the county’s elections fund; the fee varies depending on the position. If the position pays more than $1,000 a year, the filing fee is 1 percent of the annual salary.

For county commissioner, the filing fee is $1,022.

State law does provide for “a candidate who lacks sufficient assets or income at the time of filing” to submit a petition with a number of signatures of registered voters equal to the number of dollars of the

filing fee.

Battle Ground resident Ron Barca, a lean practitioner at Boeing Commercial Aircraft in Gresham, Ore., who serves on the county planning commission, said this week he’s running a grass-roots campaign and plans to rely only on donations from individuals rather than lobbying groups.

He said he’d rather put contributions toward his campaign than pay a filing fee to the county.

He plans to submit 1,200 signatures on May 14, the first day of filing week. That’s 178 names more than necessary but leaves him room in case some signatures are invalid.

Kimsey said elections employees will verify the signatures, which they do by looking up the voter’s scanned signature and comparing it with the signature on the petition. Kimsey said employees can verify approximately 25 signatures an hour, so it will take two employees about three eight-hour days.

Barca, 56, a Democrat, is running against Republican Commissioner Tom Mielke, 70, and Democrat Joe Tanner, 65.

The top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, in the Aug. 7 primary will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

Tanner leads the way in raising money. According to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, Tanner has received $30,725 in cash contributions, while Mielke has received $5,833 and Barca has received $1,990.

In the primary, the candidates run districtwide. Mielke represents north county; the district reaches as far south as parts of Hazel Dell.

Commissioner candidates run countywide in the general election.

Commissioners currently earn $102,228 a year.

People who sign the petition must be registered to vote in Clark County.

For a list of businesses that have petitions, go to http://www.ronbarca4clarkcounty.com.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.