Freeholder election on county commissioners' agenda

Decision part of home rule charter process

By Erik Hidle, Columbian staff writer

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Clark County commissioners have a final choice to make on a freeholder election before the matter heads to voters and begins a home rule charter process.

As approved by commissioners last week, an election for freeholder positions would require freeholder candidates to run by political party. But to have partisan positions, there must be a primary.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey confirmed that process Monday afternoon.

“The elections office investigated this in our normal course of affairs,” Kimsey said. “Our acting elections director did a spectacular job of researching this.”

Commissioner Tom Mielke, a Republican and the one who pushed for a home rule undertaking, originally said the positions should be partisan as it gives voters an idea regarding governing philosophy.

“It was based around transparency,” Mielke said of the wish to go partisan. “To show what people are thinking.”

So the commissioners have a choice: add a primary, which would cost additional money, or change the positions to nonpartisan and proceed directly to the November election.

Mielke said he intends to introduce an amendment to simply make the positions nonpartisan.

“I’m going to add it for the consent agenda,” Mielke said. “Because of the nature of the cost, I believe we will go to nonpartisan.”

Commissioners meet on the matter at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.