County makes precinct changes

Annual boundary adjustment accounts population changes

By Jake Thomas, Columbian staff writer

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Nearly 20,000 Clark County voters will soon be notified they are in a new voting precinct as part of an annual adjustment overseen by county elections officials.

Most of those voters will also be notified that they’ll now be able to cast ballots in upcoming municipal or Clark County Fire & Rescue elections as a result of recent annexations and a fire district merger.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said that the notices are being sent out to voters as required under state law. Washington state limits the number of registered voters in a precinct to 1,500. Kimsey said that the county’s precinct boundaries were also adjusted so that voters will receive ballots for jurisdictions in which they are eligible to vote.

Clark County Elections Supervisor Cathie Garber said that the county adjusts precinct boundaries every year to account for population changes. She said the county sends out notices ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 voters letting them know they’ve been moved to a new precinct each year.

“During this last year, we had such a huge influx of voters from August to October, and it increased a lot of these precincts to over 1,500,” Garber said, noting the surge in voter registrations during the lead-up to the 2016 General Election.

According to a news release from the county auditor’s office, which oversees elections, the county added 25 new precincts and adjusted the boundaries of 47 existing precincts.

Under state law, voting precincts must be placed entirely inside or outside of a city’s border, and Garber said that the updated boundaries will reflect annexations from nearby cities. Garber said that as a result of the precinct modifications, two voters will be allowed to cast ballots in city of Vancouver elections, 67 for the city of La Center and 26 for the city of Battle Ground.

She said that the changes only apply where annexations have gone into effect. Voters in areas where annexations are slated to occur won’t be affected until they are finalized, she said.

According to Garber, 1,652 voters will be brought from Clark County Fire District 2 into Clark County Fire & Rescue. Last year, voters in the district voted to merge with Clark County Fire & Rescue.

The remaining voters who will receive notifications won’t see any changes in the elections they’re eligible to cast votes in, Garber said.