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Primary Election 2019 - Results and Comments

By On
• In Elections,

Online election results at auditor website.

1:15 pm, Fri, Aug 9

There are 58 ballots waiting to be counted, and the next count will be on Monday at 5 pm. With perhaps 20 to 200 or more late arriving mailed in ballots. Between then and Aug 20 they will review problem ballots and certify the election. We are done. The November election candidates have been chosen.

The FairVote folks who are promoting Rank Choice Voting (RCV), ran a parallel election for mayor of Bellingham - allowing us to experience how the system works. The graphic below shows how closely our primary preferences match the actual - real - primary election results. The four candidates finished in the same order, Seth, April, Pinky, Garrett. If we used RCV for electing our mayor, we would be spared a second three months of campaigns - with Seth becoming mayor based on second choices of those voting for the other three. This is the beauty of RCV. We have one campaign, we vote our first choice and then we vote for who we prefer if our choice does not win. Thus we allow for a person acceptable to all to win.

Rank Choice Vote on left and Primary Election result on right.
Rank Choice Vote on left and Primary Election result on right.

Of course the two political parties have worked to prevent RCV because it takes power away from them to control who we vote for, that is, who our choice of candidates are. With RCV, we could replace Rick Larsen as our Representative to Congress - easily. With the present system, we voters - we citizens - do not select our candidates. Larsen is in for life or as long as he wants to be in. With RCV a third candidate could win. Perhaps an independent candidate.

4:45 pm Thur, Aug 8

The auditor posted today’s additional 2,600 ballots at about 4:30 today. All of the leaders of yesterday remain secure in their places on the general ballot in November. There will be no change in the Bellingham mayor race, with Seth and April firmly in the general election. The election will be certified on Aug 20, but the results are plain now.

9:40 am Thur

At 5 pm today, the auditor election staff will update the election results with the counting of 3,000 or more ballots today - and you can see those latest results by clicking the link above. I cannot be at my computer until later this evening to update any comments on the results. No changes in who will be on the November ballot are expected from this point forward. In truth, the number of ballots to be counted today could be much higher than 3,000 - maybe 5,000 - and there is a chance a result could be changed. We want to continue watching the Bellingham mayoral race. It should be settled now with Seth and April in the general election. Then again…

9:27 am Thur, Aug 8

40th state legislative district vote totals on our Whatcom County auditor election page do not reflect who is actually winning this primary. The 40th encompasses part of Skagit and all of San Juan counties, with our Whatcom county portion being about 60% of the vote. While Carrie Blackwood is in 2nd place on our Whatcom County ballot count, she is in 3rd place in the district totals, with Daniel Miller a solid 2nd and going on to the General Election. This Secretary of State webpage shows the respective county totals. You can see that in Skagit county, Carrie has 926 votes to Daniel Miller’s 3,599 votes This morning, district wide, Liz Lovelett has 14,869, Daniel Miller 8,679, and Carrie Blackwood 6,903. Liz and Daniel will be in the general election.

6:12 pm Wed, Aug 7

No leads or second place results have changed since last night. An additional 12,013 ballots were counted today, bringing the count from 42,945 last night to 54,958 this evening, and bringing the voter percentage from 29% last night to 37% this evening. When the auditor posted last night that 5,000 ballots remained to be counted, we need to know that was just an approx number last night - and that more ballots arrived this morning. This evening, the number waiting to be counted Thursday is 2,500 but we may see many more ballots counted tomorrow than that. Today was probably the big day.

Whatcom County Executive, Satpal Sidhu closed the gap with Tony Larson by several hundred votes, while adding over a thousand votes to his lead over 3rd place Karen Burke. Tony and Satpal are the general election candidates.

County council candidate Kathy Kershner has 69% of the votes for the new District 4 council seat and will no doubt win in November. Only voters in her district are voting on this race in the primary, and the redistricting commission in 2016 set this up as a safe conservative seat. We now see the proof of that.

Bellingham Mayor candidate April Barker, in 2nd place, increased her lead over 3rd place Pinky Vargas from 400 votes to an over 700 vote lead this evening. Seth and April are the two candidates for the general election.

Bellingham council notable result is Hollie Huthman with her 67% of the votes for the At Large position. She looks sure to win in November. And Dan Hammill, the current representative of Ward 3 has a 64% of the votes and will no doubt be reelected in November.

In the 40th state legislative district. Liz Lovelett has kept her very solid lead, with Daniel Miller the obvious second place candidate. While Carrie Blackwood did well in the Whatcom County portion of the 40th, she trailed Daniel in the Skagit and San Juan county areas. There is only a slim chance she can catch Daniel.

So, I have a question. Just what was the Gristle all about today? What is he trying to say, without saying the specific words? I may come back to that.

10:23 pm Tuesday evening - last post of the night

We will add to this page as the week progresses with additional ballot counting.

A great night for moderates and for those who have long been involved in local politics. Money and clever campaign consultants lost, as well as candidates who we never heard of before last spring. Satpal and Tony provide us with a good choice of how we want this county to proceed. Seth and April will provide the same in Bellingham. Myself or other NW Citizen writers will be writing about the council campaigns as we move into the general election campaign. Of course all will go quiet now until after Labor Day. And that is welcome. The smart candidates will be meeting people wherever they can during August. The predictions by the writers and political junkies (see bottom of this page) were mostly wrong. Most had Garrett leading in the mayor race. Most thought Karen would be a finalist for county executive. Seth was predicted to be in the general but not to be leading in the pimary. And most did pick Satpal to make it through the primary. Still - some real surprises tonight. Seth especially, as he beat the money. And he did it in his natural quiet manner. Good night.

Money did not buy this election.
Money did not buy this election.

9:37 pm

A friend worked out this matrix - which shows losing candidates spending the most money per vote. Satpal beat Karen while spending half as much for every vote he received. And Garrett spent $12 per vote to Seth’s $5 per vote.

9:26 pm

The 40th state legislative district race for state senator has incumbent Liz Lovelett with 8,450 votes to Carrie Blackwood with 4,591. Liz was appointed to fill the seat vacated last year. She and Carrie will now compete in the November general election to fill the last year of this office term. Much of south Bellingham is part of the 40th district, with most of the district in Skagit County. In Whatcom County - south Bellingham - Liz is also strongly leading Carrie with over 6,000 votes to Carrie’s under 4,000 votes. Liz looks good for November election to the office.

9:03 pm

How did Seth do it- the very strong first place - with such a strong lead over April Barker? He was possibly a consensus candidate by folks undecided between Pinky and April. Nice guy, and all know he will be a reasonable mayor. Why did Garrett lose out? All of us expected him to be the easy leader. Well, it looks like the conservatives and Republicans who were supporting him just did not vote. Complacent? Sleeping? Well, this is why we vote and why the saying goes - we play the game. Garrett is a candidate who even appealed to many liberals I have talked with over the past weeks. Of course they were voting for one of the three liberals first, but none were apprehensive about him as mayor.

8:25 pm

Satpal Sidhu and Tony Larson will be the candidates for Whatcom County executive.

Bellingham Mayor results
Bellingham Mayor results

Seth Fleetwood is a candidate for mayor. April Barker will hold her lead on Garrett O’Brien and Pinky Vargas through the additional ballot counts. She has a strong lead. (this corrects a goof post a few minutes ago)

8:14 pm - results in.

8:12 pm

Now just waiting for results posting. Seth supporters are gathered at Boundary Bay in the Beer Garden. April Barker supporters are at Greene’s Corner, 2208 James street. I will post any other locations if I receive them.

7:52 pm

(Update: 42,945 ballots were counted tonight. That is a return of 29% of all ballots.) Whatcom County now has 147,234 registered voters. And as of Monday evening, the Auditor had received 34,472 - a 23% return. We do expect thousands more to be received by Thursday’s 4 pm results. So, any close results tonight could easily be changed by Thursday. That said, a 2% difference normally holds, as the first returns are an excellent poll of voter thinking.

7:40 pm

Money. In the mayor’s race, Garrett O’Brien leads with $53 thousand raised and $45 thousand spent on the campaign. He really has all the right of center support in our community. The three liberals, Seth, April and Pinky, collectively raised $97 thousand and spent $85 thousand. Seth and Pinky raised about $27 thousand each and they spent about $23 thousand each. April raised $44 thousand, $20 thousand more than either Pinky or Seth - and April spent $39 thousand, almost as much as Pinky and Seth combined spent.

For county executive, Tony Larson has raised an incredible $127 thousand. Pause. Wow. He has spent only $24 thousand on the primary campaign as of his last report. Well, that shows confidence by him and his campaign staff that they do not need to worry about getting into the general election. They expect to start the general campaign with $100 thousand already in the bank. Satpal has raised $61 thousand, Karen $51 thousand, and Jim Boyle $33 thousand. Karen has spent all her funds, with Satpal spending 2/3rds, or $42 thousand. Jim has spent $42 thousand, thus leaving himself with debt.

7 pm, Tuesday, Aug 6, 2019

Good evening. Will try and put some perspectives from different folks to this primary election night. Our Auditor, Debbie Adelstein, had her staff start the processing of ballots this morning and will run the tallies after 8 pm, and post by or before 8:20 pm. This will be the only count this evening and will not include many if any ballots received today, as those will be processed Wednesday morning with results posted about 4 pm tomorrow.

We writers for NW Citizen have a weekly meeting at a local watering hole and, as we do for every election, we all have our predictions. So here is how a group of about a dozen political junkies think tonight’s results for Bellingham mayor and County executive.

For Bellingham mayor, all predict Garrett O’Brien will poll the highest, with Seth favored to be second and in the general election with Garrett. April is predicted to be in the general election by only a couple writers. However, one very dedicated junkie thinks Pinky will be in the general. Those of conservative and liberal bent think the percents will be 30 to 34% for Garrett with the three liberals being within 3 or fewer points of each other between 21and 24%. So, very close.

County Executive predictions are evenly split between Satpal and Tony, vs Satpal and Karen. Those feeling they could predict percentages - conservative and liberal - have Tony at 41 to 45%, Satpal 26 to 29%, and Karen 22 to 25%.

So, up this goes, and the evening starts.

Attached Files

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

g.h.kirsch

Aug 06, 2019

Hooray for Seth. He would bring with him a long history of civic contribution that he’s carried on from an old and noble Bellingham family. 

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jim peterson

Aug 06, 2019

I can’t believe dan Hammil is leading by so much i hope he loses big time in general.

 

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Tim Paxton

Aug 07, 2019

Excellent election primary coverage!   I enjoyed the ranking try out page too.   

A few ballot counting questions:

1. Ballots.  How many ballots sets are printed up?   One for the official mailer.  Second  set for use in the “re-making” of marred, spindled, mutilated, stained, mis markeed, ballots?  A third set for the secret  ballot custodians ??? :)      Who accounts for all the ballots printed.

2. Any chain of evidence?   Do we really trust that ballot boxes aren’t stuffed or unknown custodians of the mail do not add their own special supply of ballots?    Seems like a weak major link.  Only a few hundred names of previous voters and a group could swing the results.  Signatures are available on many sources.

3.  Software that “counts” the results.    Why exactly should any one trust the software or computer or unknown hacker or operator who could over ride the results?   Why not all hand count for primary especially?   Hand counting could be video broadcast/ taped live to help accuracy.

 

Good work Seth Campaign workers and looking forward to more NWCitizen coverage.

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Dick Conoboy

Aug 07, 2019

 It will be ineresting to see which way the O’Brien voters will break.  I would guess heavily to Seth.  The Vargas voters will likely split with a bit more going to Barker.  Just don’t know but perhaps there are better seers out there than I. 

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jim peterson

Aug 07, 2019

I am an O’brien voter and i am sticking with him for now until someone else with a really housing plan

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Ryan M. Ferris

Aug 07, 2019

On  these “stampless ballot” mail in elections…ballots can pour in at high volume for a day at least. Results tonight might be substantial in volume and surprising.

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Dick Conoboy

Aug 07, 2019

Jim,

I am not sure what you mean by sticking with Garrett.  He will not be on the ballot in November.  You can write him in, I suppose. 

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Dick Conoboy

Aug 07, 2019

Ryan,

The auditor indicates that there are 5,000 ballots yet to be counted.  Do you have reason to believe these random 5,000 will be divided in a ratio that does not mirror the ratio of the current count?

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John Servais

Aug 07, 2019

The validation of ballots is done by human hand and eyes before the envelopes are opened.  Signatures are verified against the up to date voter rolls.  Signatures are the key to prevent fraud.

Each morning, staff in the Auditor ffice start processing ballots and machine counting them.  More ballots arrive by mail during the day.  Staff process as many as they canduring the day and stop - leaving whatever ballots remain for the next day.  Thus, the “ballots to count” number is an estimate of ballots remaining in baskets at the end of the day and is thus a rounded number guess - such as 5,000 or 2,500.   That estimated number is not how many will be counted the next day, but how many remain overnight.  

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Dick Conoboy

Aug 07, 2019

As of this evening (8/7/19)  relative positions are unchanged.  Barker did pick up one percent.  O’Brien lost about one percent. 

 

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jim peterson

Aug 08, 2019

Dick Conoboy

yea I wrote that before I realized Garrett was n ot going to be in general which to me is sad since now we are left with same ole same ole. I would delete my comment about sticking with Garrettt but cant figure out how to

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Ryan M. Ferris

Aug 08, 2019

I try to give some explanation here in the linked post below of ballot reception in the  “Stampless Ballot Era”.  The day after the election is often the heaviest day of ballot collection.  Depending on how the election department is staffed and the turnout, even two days after the election date,  ballot reception from the election period can continue.  Remember that election officials estimate labor needs on historical turnout.  They can sometimes be taken by surprise.  Also for smaller counties in particular, they may find themselves without as much help as they would like.  https://mathandscienceprogramming.blogspot.com/2019/08/return-date-for-2018-primary-for.html

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Bill McCallum

Aug 08, 2019

Below are the number of envelopes with a late postmark rejected by the auditor’s office and as a percentage of the total vote.  For the last four years, the envelopes rejected are less than one-half of one percent.

The following numbers are for the general election.

2018 — 192 late postmark — 0.17 of votes cast

2017 — 271 late postmark — 0.43 of votes cast

2016 — 90 late postmark — 0.08 of votes cast

2015 — 234 late postmark — 0.38 of votes cast

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