Decision Day on San Juan Islands: Ballots for local state and national elections can be dropped off at island drop-boxes until 8 p.m. tonight

  • Wed Nov 5th, 2008 12:03am
  • News

Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller said today she expects local voter turnout will reach 90 percent. Ballots must be postmarked by 3 p.m. today. If you miss the post office, you have until 8 p.m. to drop your ballot off at the county Elections Department at Second and Reed streets, or in a drop box in front of the County Courthouse, the Lopez Fire Station or the Orcas Senior Center.

History will be made Tuesday:

— San Juan County voters will help elect either the first African-American president or the first female vice president.

— The San Juans could send an islander to the state Senate for the first time in about 100 years.

— The County Council will have two new members. One will succeed Kevin Ranker of South San Juan, who opted to run for state Senate than for reelection. Another will succeed Alan Lichter of Orcas West, who lost in the primary.

— For the first time, the County Council will be comprised of members elected under the county charter, which was adopted in 2005.

Also on the ballot: Governor and other state offices.

Islanders seem to have a sense of the historic importance of this election. Sixty-three percent of voters in San Juan County had turned in their ballots by Monday morning, and County Auditor Milene Henley expected the final turnout to be 90 percent.

“Our ballots are getting returned at a high rate. Voters aren’t waiting,” Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller said Oct. 24, when about one-fourth of 11,579 ballots had been returned. “That’s excellent for us, this early in the election.” As of Monday night, 8,385 ballots had been received by the elections office. That’s 74 percent of the 11,579 ballots mailed out.

Worries of glitches in urban areas didn’t materialize in this rural county. Schaller said all processing was going along without a hitch, and the two major political parties had observers on the scene. In addition, attorney Lynn Bahrych was also present for the Democratic Voter Protection Resource Center.