Election Night Notes

By On
• In Elections,

9:23 pm is ​time of latest comments. This is not blog style and proceeds down the page with time.

7 pm

This is not blog style and will proceed down the page with time this evening.

First off, here is the link to the county Auditor’s election results page.


The first results may be posted as early as 8:20 pm or as late as 8:40 pm, if past years are a guide. The auditor’s staff and temporary staff ballot processers have been opening ballots for some days now and those will be run for counting through the computer immediately after 8 pm. It will be the only run for this evening, with the next count being Wednesday afternoon about 4 or 5 pm. Ballots collected tonight from the 18 ballot drop boxes around the county will be processed tomorrow and the rest of this week.

KMRE community radio is providing live commentary on the election this evening. Now at 7:15 pm with KMRE news commenters Stephanie Kountouros, Devlin Sweeney, Dave Willingham and guest Satpal Sidhu.

7:45 pm

A few predictions. Several of us writers were enjoying a drink earlier this evening and we took down individual predictions. Here are just a couple where we mostly agreed. Just for the fun of it. We all feel the jail tax will be rejected. For the second time. And we were all surprised that the others thought the same. We all think that Todd Donovan hurt himself with his angry accusations against Amy. He was and is going to win, but some think Amy will get over 40% - far more than she would have had he been civil during the campaign. Personally, I think she has a chance to win. Most think Sheppard is a win at Port. Surprisingly, most think Bell will also win at Port. The word “most” is as cloaking as revealing as our group varied over two hours between 5 and 8. Consensus was Barry and Mary Kay will be very very close. And to close it out, we think Eric will be lucky to get 11%. So, we shall see if a handful of political junkies have a clue about the voters in their community.

8:13 pm

Ballot boxes were locked at 8 pm and ballots collected. We can no longer say the polls have closed because there are no longer polls for people to go to and vote. Still waiting for the one and only posting of results this evening.

8:14 pm - results posted. Jail tax rejected again.

8:24 pm

Stunning loss for the second Jail tax issue. Two years ago, it lost by about 1,100 votes. Tonight it is 6,000 plus votes behind. IMO, there is no chance of this reversing. Of 42,544 votes cast, 24,576 votes are rejecting, and 17,968 votes approving the tax. The common sense of the voters of both our cities and rural ares is again shown. The mayors and council members around the county overwhelmingly endorsed this tax. The people are saying no. Biggest issue on the ballot. Wonderful outcome.

8:44 pm

Port. Both Dan Robbins and Ken Bell are holding narrow leads. These leads can easily change between now and Friday at 5 pm when the ballot counting will be virtually finished. In fact we should know by Thursday afternoon when fresh results are posted late afternoon. A huge local liberal effort went into trying to get Michael Sheppard elected. For this race to be this close - within 200 votes with 41,676 votes cast - is a huge surprise as so many political experts I talked to over the campaign season were so sure Sheppard would sweep Robbins aside. Ken Bell was given a better chance of running a close race but still losing to Barry Wenger. Well, Ken has a 1,600 vote lead and that can change but probably will not.

9:23 pm

Wrap up. The makeup of the Port will take a couple more days to sort out. Tyler Byrd is the new county council member. Barry should keep his lead and return, and Todd has won his landslide. But the big news is the defeat of the jail tax. We now have a leadership vacuum in our county government with the sheriff, executive and prosecutor all having shown they are at odds with the citizens of our county. They are not leading us as we have rejected their leadership very solidly. We need new leaders - and not their hand picked friends.

Good night.

Oh - and, if I may. We political junkies did have a fairly decent understanding of our voters. Not bad.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Larry Horowitz

Nov 08, 2017

John, although it’s nearly impossible to know exactly what caused individual voters to reject the jail tax for a second time, there is no doubt that [your] Northwest Citizen played a significant role.

Juliette Daniels’ masterful depiction of this flawed plan, David Camp’s remarkably readable analyses, Tip Johnson’s artful explanations, and Dick Conoboy’s clearly expressed views represent tremendous contributions to this dialogue, and I thank you all for your strong efforts.

Northwest Citizen is important, and I appreciate all the TLC you invest in it.

Thank you!



Jeffrey Bodé

Nov 08, 2017

What Larry Horowitz said.


Nancy Grayum

Nov 08, 2017

Well put Larry, and all of the above. Very grateful for your work John.


John Servais

Nov 08, 2017

Thank you for the compliments.  In truth - and this is not just politeness - the credit is to the writers who are posting to this site.  They are making a difference because each is qualified, each has their own perspective, and each is free to write and post what they think best for the community - without any editorial control by myself.  I often learn of a new article when I check the website in the morning.  My effort is to improve this venue for qualified citizen journalists.  

On the jail tax issue, Juliette Daniels researched for months and Tip Johnson posted them up - all 14 of them.  She is a practicing lawyer who deals with the justice system.  In the opinion of our writers, Juliette deserves high praise for her months long research and her traveling to other counties in the state to see how they were dealing with law and justice issues.  David Camp did very important work analysing the numbers - taxes, costs, projections - and finding the numbers did not fit together and then writing very clear articles.  David is a CPA with decades of corporate experience.  Tip wrote several very pithy and informative articles on his own.  Tip has decades as a citizen activist and 8 years on our Bellingham council behind his perpectives.  He has seen it all and he wants all citizens to know how it works.  

We have 10 writers besides myself and over a dozen contributors.  We intend to continue pursuing local issues and providing reliable information for all residents, citizens and voters of Whatcom County. Northwest Citizen is a venue for local citizen journalists.  


Joy Gilfilen

Nov 10, 2017

Thank you John for this blog and for bringing incredible writers to the table - this platform made a big difference in the jail tax campaign, and many of your writers serve many other sectors of the marketplace.  You matter.  

I agree with Larry totally, and yes, Tip…Juliette Daniels’s work was damn good - exemplary.  It was critical need-to-know information for this campaign! I believe that it served as a grounding rod, for we needed that historical and legal comprehension of how out of bounds the delusion of planning was.   This allowed the readers a logical progress of thinking and common sense to prevail and it gave us all a basis from which to think fresh.  With a solid basis of facts, we are all more equipped to understand how to hold steady when the hyper-drama of emotional fear-mongering  was injected from the proponents of the jail.  It helped others be able to have a solid reason to really question things from a whole different angle.

Tip, your stuff is so right on - and it is in the face…which forces us out of our comfy seats to have to look at things completely differently; and David’s economic questioning was a shocking wake up call. 

So, you all  have done an incredible job bringing big issues out to the surface! 

People today often get so busy chattering, we miss the deep work…so it is very valuable to have people with completely different professional backgrounds bringing forward all new ways of seeing reality.  I know that without the deep research you all did - people in the county would not have known to ask certain other questions, which sparked more questions, which led to more involvement, more education, more questions.  

That is the critical importance of solid journalism - and I appreciate the dedication of all of you!