Local Election

You have until Tuesday to mail your Whatcom County ballot; here’s a reminder of 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

About 14 percent of the 105,063 ballots for the Whatcom County Aug. 1 primary election have been returned, according the auditor’s office. 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 Aug. 1.

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.

The Whatcom County Council, Bellingham City Council and Port of Bellingham offices are non-partisan.

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 (2)
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 the two years remaining on his term in the old district.

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

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 challenger Michael Shepard. Also on the ballot is Nicholas Kunkel, who was arrested for domestic violence June 2 and is no longer campaigning.

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.

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.

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.

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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