Local Election

Your Whatcom County ballot is in the mail; here’s who is on it

How to fill out your Whatcom County ballot

Ballots for the Aug. 1 primary election were mailed to voters in Whatcom County July 11. Only races with three candidates are on this ballot. The top two finishers from each race, along with pairs of candidates for other offices, will appear on th
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Ballots for the Aug. 1 primary election were mailed to voters in Whatcom County July 11. Only races with three candidates are on this ballot. The top two finishers from each race, along with pairs of candidates for other offices, will appear on th

Ballots for the Aug. 1 primary election are in the mail to voters in Whatcom County.

Only races with three candidates are on this ballot. The top two finishers from each race, along with pairs of candidates for other offices, will appear on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.

Ballots must be postmarked by election day and require 49 cents postage. Fifteen free drop boxes around the county are available until 8 p.m. on election day.

The Whatcom County Council, Bellingham City Council and Port of Bellingham offices are non-partisan. However, the Whatcom Democrats have endorsed and the Whatcom County Republican Party has supported candidates. The Republicans plan to endorse for the general election.

Campaign donations are as reported to the state Public Disclosure Commission on July 11.

Whatcom County Council

Candidates for two of the county’s new five council districts, which voters approved in 2016, appear on the primary ballot. Only voters who live in the district will elect district representatives.

2017CountyPrecincts
Five Whatcom County Council voting districts were approved by Whatcom County voters in 2016. District No. 1, in yellow, is South Bellingham, No. 2, orange, is North Bellingham, No. 3, dark green, is Foothills, No. 4, light green, is Farmlands and No. 5, blue, is Coastal. Whatcom County Districting Committee Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

County Council District 2, North Bellingham, candidates are Daniel Collick, Amy Glasser and Todd Donovan. Donovan, who holds the current District 1, position B, would retain his seat until 2019 if he is not elected to the new district. If he is elected, the council would appoint a replacement for an at-large post that would be up with the November 2018 election. The remaining one-year term of office for that seat would be completed by a person elected from any district.

▪  Collick, a plumber, has raised $8,797 for his campaign, and is endorsed by former County Council member Kathy Kershner and supported by the Whatcom County Republican Party.

▪  Glasser, a social worker, has raised $10,692 for her campaign and is endorsed by the National Women’s Political Caucus, Washington Chapter and Bellingham City Council members Gene Knutzen and Terry Bornemann.

▪  Donovan, a professor of political science, has raised $18,334 for his campaign and is endorsed by Whatcom Democrats, Washington Conservation Voters and Whatcom County Council members Ken Mann, Satpal Sidhu and Carl Weimer.

County Council District 3, Foothills, candidates are Rebecca Boonstra, Tyler Byrd and Clifford Langley.

▪  Boonstra, a chamber of commerce director, has raised $2,684 for her campaign and is endorsed by Whatcom Democrats, Washington Conservation Voters, 42nd Legislative Democrats and National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington.

▪  Byrd, who owns a marketing business, has raised $19,125 for his campaign and is endorsed by the Washington Farm Bureau Political Action Committee, 42nd District Reps. Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven and Everson Mayor John Perry, Nooksack Mayor Jim Ackerman, Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis and Sumas Mayor Bob Bromley. He is also supported by the Whatcom County Republican Party.

▪  Langley, a retired sheriff’s deputy, has raised $15,459 for his campaign, and is supported by the Whatcom County Republican Party.

Both terms are for four years. County Council members are paid $30,000 a year, plus county health benefits.

Port Commission

Two Port of Bellingham races are on the primary ballot. The port continues to use the old County Council districts, with one commissioner in each of three districts.

In District 1, incumbent Dan Robbins will face challengers Nicholas Kunkel and Michael Shepard.

▪  Kunkel, a biologist, was arrested for domestic violence June 2 and is no longer campaigning.

▪  Robbins, a retired business owner, has raised $18,191 for his campaign, and is endorsed by the Washington Farm Bureau Political Action Committee and supported by the Whatcom County Republican Party.

▪  Shepard, a college instructor, has raised $16,456 for his campaign and is endorsed by Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, Whatcom Commercial Fishermen’s Association and Whatcom Democrats.

In District 2: Ken Bell, Doug Karlberg and Barry Wenger are running for the seat currently held by Mike McAuley, who is not running for re-election.

▪  Bell, a recycling business owner, has raised $8,442 for his campaign and is supported by the Whatcom County Republican Party.

▪  Karlberg, a commercial fisherman, has raised $2,759 for his campaign and is endorsed by District No. 3 Port Commissioner Bobbie Briscoe.

▪  Wenger, an environmental planner, has raised $13,060 for his campaign and is endorsed by Whatcom Democrats.

Both terms are for four years. Port commissioners are paid $8,400 a year, plus health benefits.

Bellingham City Council

The Bellingham City Council at-large seat is on the primary ballot with incumbent Roxanne Murphy facing challengers Eric Bostrom and Jean Layton.

▪  Bostrom, a retired pastor, has raised $1,833 for his campaign, and is supported by the Whatcom County Republican Party.

▪  Layton, a naturopathic physician, has raised $3,237 for her campaign.

▪  Murphy, a tribal youth director, has raised $6,751 for her campaign and is endorsed by the Washington Conservation Voters, Whatcom Democrats and the Women’s Political Caucus of Washington.

The term for the at-large seat is two years. Bellingham City Council members are paid $25,000 a year, plus city health benefits.

Several other small cities and district positions are also on the ballot for voters in those districts.

The length of the potential appointment should Donovan be elected to a new district was corrected Aug. 3, 2017.

Voter information

The Whatcom County Auditor’s Office website has links to help you register to vote, get a ballot, find a ballot drop box and check if your ballot has been received.

Some dates to remember about the 2017 elections:

Primary election is Aug. 1.

  • Last day for registered voters to update their information for the general election is Oct. 9.
  • General election ballots will be mailed Oct. 18.
  • Last day for people new to the state to register to vote is Oct. 30.
  • General election is Nov. 7.

See your districts online:

Candidate information

The Whatcom County Auditor’s Office provides information about the candidates online at whatcomcounty.us/1732/Current-Election.

The Whatcom County Auditor’s Office also provides these resources:

Whatcom County district changes

Voters approved ballot measures in 2016 that changed districts starting in 2017:

  • There will be five districts, instead of three.
  • There will be one representative elected from each district, rather than two.
  • Only voters who live in a district will vote for their representative.
  • All voters will elect two at-large positions. Previously there was only one at-large position.

The districts are:

  • District No. 1, South Bellingham;
  • District No. 2, North Bellingham;
  • District No. 3, Foothills – Chuckanut, Lake Samish, Lake Whatcom, Sudden Valley, and areas east of the Guide, including Van Zandt, Acme, Deming, Kendall, Maple Falls, Glacier;
  • District 4, Farmlands – On the south end starting near Bellingham International Airport and west of Guide Meridian, Lynden, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas;
  • District 5, Coastal – Lummi Island, Lummi Reservation, Ferndale, Birch Bay, Custer, Blaine, Point Roberts.
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