Category Archives: Election 2009

Did SKSD Voters Boycott Pointless Primary?

As noted in today’s Kitsap Sun editorial, voter turnout throughout Kitsap County in Tuesday’s primary was a “deplorable” 22 percent. Kitsap County elections manager Dolores Gilmore said the turnout was comparable to off-year elections in the early 1990s, before all-mail balloting.

Voter turnout in South Kitsap was even lower, but was it apathy or something else? With 39,199 registered voters eligible to vote in the South Kitsap School District race for the district 3 position, only 5,385 ballots were counted as of the close of business at the auditor’s office on election day. That’s up to 6,023 today, still a scanty 15 percent.

Is it possible South Kitsap voters were boycotting what amounted to a straw poll? Current unofficial results show incumbent Naomi Polen, with 31.73 percent of the vote, trailing challenger Chris Lemke, a former board member, with 45.03 percent. A second challenger, Gail F. Porter, is ineligible to serve because she moved out of the director district after filing. According to the Kitsap County auditor’s office, the deadline to withdraw had passed by the time Porter made the move known. Porter’s name, therefore, appeared on the ballot, and she received 19.06 percent of the vote. Now, there’s nearly 20 percent of the 39,199 who are either in denial or not in tune with local media. As the editorial notes, we ran a story on the issue.

The hey of it is, the primary, results of which carry no weight, will cost South Kitsap School District an estimated $70,000. Before the election, I checked with Dolores Gilmore to see if the district would save any money if people did in fact boycott the primary. Dolores said no; most of the cost associated with the primary is incurred in preparation and distribution of ballots.

Based on turnout numbers in the South Kitsap race, however, one might guess some people made that assumption and shredded their ballots. Either that or SKSD voters are in a complacent slump.

There’s been considerable discussion on the blog entry post posted the day of the primary about Porter’s ineligibility and its implications for South Kitsap School District. I’ll respond to a few points made.

Bob Meadows pointed out that there are essentially two deadlines for withdrawal from a race. The candidate can withdraw up to the Thursday following filing week without having to give any reason. Secondly, the candidate can withdraw beyond that date at the election official’s (auditor’s office) discretion up to the day the ballots are ordered. I checked with Dolores Gilmore. The ballots were ordered June 15. According to Gilmore, she did not learn of Porter’s ineligibility to serve until Aug. June 18, when Porter came in to change her voter registration address.

School Board member Kathryn Simpson (in comments on the previous blog post and elsewhere) has given a different accounting of who knew what, when. I invited Dolores to respond to Kathryn’s statements, and Dolores declined, saying it was the formal position of the auditor’s office not to engage in discussion on the blog regarding this issue. In short, she had no comment. South Kitsap School District is pursuing legal advice on whether there is any way to mitigate the amount is has to pay for the primary. Stay tuned.

Finally, Bob Meadows notes that Porter would be eligible to serve if, hypothetically, she were to move back into district 3. Bob suggested that the nearly 20 percent of voters who favored Porter may have been encouraging her to do so. Porter would be eligible to serve under those hypothetical circumstances if she were still in the race. But that’s a moot point now, because she still got the fewest votes in the primary.

South Kitsap’s situation is a cautionary tale for both school districts – who are liable to incur the cost of elections even in the rare instances like this when they turn into straw polls – and candidates – who set in motion the wheels of elections law when they file for office.

Let it be said here that school board candidates probably aren’t in it for the money. SKSD board policy based on state law allows board members a stipend of $50 per meeting, but, according to district spokeswoman Aimee Warthen, not all claim compensation. They are paid for travel expenses to conferences (not in glamorous locales – unless you consider Spokane glamorous). The position requires hours of reading dry materials laden with edu-speak and sitting through meetings that are typically well attended (or attended at all) only when constituents are angry about something.

Given the above, the district ostensibly should be grateful for anyone willing to run. Regardless, potential candidates should be fully informed of the responsibility of the position and the financial implications to the district.

For the record, I became aware on July 1 that Porter had moved out of district 3 and did not act on it until late in July (my story ran July 28). Technically, acting on the information sooner would not have made any difference because the deadline had already passed. But it’s been a cautionary tale for me. And believe me, if a similar situation arises in the future, I won’t put it on the back burner.

SKSD Board: Ineligible Candidate Gets Nearly 20 Percent of Vote

Former Board Member Giving SKSD Incumbent a Run for Her Money

Third candidate who was disqualified earned nearly 20 percent of the vote.
By Chris Henry
Incumbent Naomi Polen was lagging behind challenger Chris Lemke in what amounted to a straw poll on the race for South Kitsap School District Board of Directors, district 3.
Polen earned 31.36 percent of the vote to Lemke’s 44.92 percent in Tuesday’s primary election. Both, being the two top vote getters, move on to the November election.
A third candidate, Gail F. Porter, was deemed ineligible to serve, since she moved out of district after filing for office. Even so, she earned 19.65 percent of the total 5,385 votes cast.
Write ins totaled 219 votes or 4.07 percent of the total.
Porter notified the Kitsap County Auditor’s office of the move on June 18, after the June 11 deadline to withdraw. Ballots were already being processed, so Porter’s name appeared among the contenders.
Although the result the the primary was a given, Lemke, a former SKSD board member, was guardedly optimistic at the margin by which he was ahead. He chalked it up to “local grassroots networking.”
“I’m thankful for the numbers,” he said. “It’’ll be a worthy opponent and a great election in November. I’m looking forward to it.”
Polen was appointed to the board last spring when then-District 3 representative Chuck Mayhew moved. Lemke, who served on the board from 2001 through 2005, was among those who had asked to be considered for appointment to Mayhew’s position.
Polen, who has so far run a fairly low-key campaign, said she anticipates working harder to publicize herself between now and the November election.
“I guess I will start putting signs out, which I didn’t want to do,” she said. “I felt I was getting out there, but obviously the numbers say I’m not.
Lemke, who did not give his age, is a retired Department of Defense manager who has held numerous volunteer positions in South Kitsap, most related to education. His four daughters attended South Kitsap schools.
Polen, 45, who helps run her husband’s construction business, also has served in multiple district and community volunteer positions. Her four children have attended South Kitsap schools.
South Kitsap School District may formally contest the estimated $70,000 it will owe for the cost of the primary.
“We have sought legal council to see if there’s any way to mitigate the cost, but we’re not interested in having a fight with the county,” said district spokeswoman Aimee Warthen.
Kitsap County elections manager Dolores Gilmore in July said much of the cost of the election is incurred through printing and distributing ballots. The law does not make provisions for districts in cases like this, she said.
Any action taken by the district will depend on advice from its attorneys, which is pending, Warthen said.

South Kitsap School District: An Unfortunate Series of Events

South Kitsap School District will pay an estimated $70,000 for the Aug. 18 primary election, even though one of the candidates in the three-way race for school board is ineligible.
Gail F. Porter moved out of district 3 after filing to run against incumbent Naomi Polen and former school board member Chris Lemke. By the time she informed the Kitsap County auditor’s office of her new address, the June 11 deadline to withdraw from the race had passed.
Porter said she knew she was moving at the time she filed but was unaware that her new home would be outside district 3 boundaries. Porter said her new home is not far from her old residence, so it didn’t occur to her that she would be ineligible. When she realized she had moved out of district, she asked to withdraw but was told she could not, she said.
According to Kitsap County elections manager Dolores Gilmore, candidates are not allowed to withdraw after June 11 because ballots must be printed early enough to allow for timely distribution prior to the primary, Gilmore said.

And as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, South Kitsap will bear a large portion of the total cost of the primary election, even though it is sharing the cost with other Kitsap jurisdictions, said Gilmore, who estimates the total cost of the primary at about $290,000.
South Kitsap, with 39,199 registered voters out of 119,000 total in this election, is one of the largest jurisdictions besides Central Kitsap School District, so it bears a proportionate part of the cost.
Furthermore, South Kitsap voters will only be voting on one race, unlike Bremerton, Poulsbo and Bainbridge residents, who will vote for both school board members and city council members. Those cities and school districts will share the cost of the elections within their respective boundaries where they overlap.
Porter, an Army veteran, said she would never have filed had she known what she knows now. “I totally get it,” she said. “You’ve got rules you’ve got to follow.

School Board President Patty Henderson said the district can ill afford  the $70,000 for a redundant election. “I’m sure all this (state laws) was put in place for good reason,” she said. “But unfortunately, there are unintended scenarios.”

Porter’s name will be on the primary, but not the general election ballot. If, by some chance, Porter were to win the general election, state law says the board (presumably with Polen stepping down if she were still in the race) would appoint to the position.

And for anyone keeping track, Henderson herself moved out of the district to which she was originally elected. Under state law, she was able to serve out the remainder of her term. Henderson, now into the third year of her second term, ran again and won in the district to which she had moved.

The difference between Henderson’s situation and Porter’s is that Henderson already held the office (see RCW’s below). If you’re curious, you can see all the board policies and the laws to which they relate by going to the school district’s Web site and looking under “Our District,” then “School Board,” then “Board Policies.”


Notwithstanding RCW 42.12.010(4), a school director elected from a director district may continue to serve as a director from the district even though the director no longer resides in the director district, but continues to reside in the school district, under the following conditions:

(1) If, as a result of redrawing the director district boundaries, the director no longer resides in the director district, the director shall retain his or her position for the remainder of his or her term of office; and

(2) If, as a result of the director changing his or her place of residence the director no longer resides in the director district, the director shall retain his or her position until a successor is elected and assumes office as follows: (a) If the change in residency occurs after the opening of the regular filing period provided under *RCW 29.15.020, in the year two years after the director was elected to office, the director shall remain in office for the remainder of his or her term of office; or (b) if the change in residency occurs prior to the opening of the regular filing period provided under *RCW 29.15.020, in the year two years after the director was elected to office, the director shall remain in office until a successor assumes office who has been elected to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of office at the school district general election held in that year.

Former Council Candidate’s Wife Recovering from Stroke

Wife’s health comes first candidate says.
By Chris Henry
Former Port Orchard City Councilman Rick Wyatt has dropped his bid to regain a seat on the council, citing family obligations.
Wyatt’s wife Linda suffered a stroke on June 24. Although she is recovering nicely, Wyatt said, “I feel it’s more important to be at her side as much as possible.”
On June 25, Wyatt made the decision to withdraw from the race for position 3 against incumbent Rob Putaansuu. He made it official at the Kitsap County auditor’s office on Monday.
Wyatt spent five years on the city’s planning commission and 12 years on the council before losing his seat to Fred Olin in 2007. He had been eager for the chance to jump back into city government.
“Physically, I left the building, but mentally, I kept track of everything that was going on,” he said.
The choice to withdraw from the race was clear, however.
“There was no hesitation on my part,” Wyatt said.
Doctors told the Wyatts Linda’s stroke may have been caused by complications from a car accident the couple was in on Mother’s Day. One of her vertebrae was injured, causing “leakage” that may have led to the stroke, Rick Wyatt said.
According to Wyatt, Linda, 62, is “making recovery by leaps and bounds.”
In her favor is the fact she has always taken good care of herself, exercising regularly, “never smoked, never drank.”
The Wyatts are hopeful that her condition will continue to improve.
“We’re both really positive thinkers,” Rick Wyatt said.

Amy’s on the Bay Owner Will Run for City Council

Amy Igloi-Matsuno, owner of Amy’s on the Bay, announced today that she will run for Port Orchard City Council. Igloi-Matsuno said she will announce what position she is seeking when she files with the Kitsap County Auditor during the first week of June.

Igloi-Matusuno has been considering running for office for “about a year.” She formally announced her plans at the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce meeting today (Thursday).

“I think we’ve positioned ourselves for dynamic change, and I’d like to be a part of that,” Igloi-Matsuno said of her decision to run.

A graduate on the University of Washington with a degree in finance, Igloi-Matsuno opened her restaurant in 2006. She believes her background in business and finance would be an asset to the city council.