The power of your vote | Editor’s Notebook

Josh Farley got a write-in vote for mayor of Bremerton.

Michael C. Moore got a write-in vote for Central Kitsap School Board.

But then again — and I don’t point this out because Farley and Moore write for the competition — so did Elmer Fudd, Jason Bourne and someone named Breezy Kooley. (OK, Farley’s fellow write-ins also include Leonardo DiCaprio and former Bremerton City Council member Roy Runyon, putting Farley in pretty good company.)

All told, voters wrote in 75 names for offices on the Aug. 1 primary election ballot. Fourteen votes were shared by nine write-ins for Bainbridge Island City Council District 7. Sixteen votes were shared by 11 write-ins for Bremerton mayor.

There was one vote each for two write-ins for Bremerton City Council District 1; one vote each for four write-ins for Bremerton City Council District 3 (retired U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks received one); 12 votes for five write-ins for Bainbridge Island School Board District 5; 25 votes for 21 write-ins for North Kitsap School Board District 3 (among the write-ins were middle school teacher Andrew Keach and Kingston Adventures owner Beth Brewster); and 35 votes for 23 write-ins for Central Kitsap School Board District 5 (Moore shares the field with 1964 Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills and President Donald Trump.)

None of those whose names were written in were official write-in candidates (yes, there is an official process for that). And it’s unlikely that any of those write-in votes would have made a difference in a result had they been cast for candidates on the ballot. But in some close elections, frivolous write-in votes (sorry, Mickey, Minnie and Elvis) have influenced the result. (I covered the 2004 election for San Juan County Board of County Commissioners, which was settled by a handful of votes. A golden retriever named Gus received 28 write-in votes.)

Kitsap County Elections Supervisor Kyle Joyce pointed out the importance of write-in votes and write-in candidacies. Waterman Port Commissioner Jack McCarn won reelection — by four votes — as a write-in candidate in 2015. He and candidate River A. Curtis-Stanley, whose name was on the ballot, probably lost sleep over the seven votes that voters wrote in for who-the-heck-knows.

Joyce said his office respects the voter’s right to write in a name of a candidate they feel is a better choice. But — seriously, folks — make your vote count. When you write in a name, Elections Office staff members have to account for each name and vote. And that takes away from their time attending to more serious tasks — funded, by the way, by your tax dollars.

I asked for and received from the Elections Office seven pages of write-ins from the Aug. 1 primary. Elections staff members had accounted for every vote for Elmer J. Fudd (so he owns a mansion and a yacht, he’s still a cartoon character), Mr. Rogers (the late Mr. Rogers, may he rest in peace), Howard Schultz (sorry, we haven’t forgiven him for selling the Sonics to Clay Bennett), and, um, Joe Mama. Oh, and lest I forget, the illustrious Glunkesnort Ronhovde.

Neighbors, the winners of the Nov. 7 election will go on to manage and invest your tax dollars. They’ll make decisions that will influence the efficiency and level of quality of city services, economic development, education, emergency medical response, environmental protection, fire protection, parks and recreation programs, and utilities (including water). And several of them will get a decent paycheck for doing so (the mayor of Bremerton is paid $107,000 a year, the mayor of Poulsbo $74,678).

Those elected on Nov. 7 will work for you. Get to know the candidates. Participate in the candidate forums. Check the county Elections Office website for links to the candidates’ websites, and to learn of any write-in candidacies that have been registered.

And above all else, make your vote count.

— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at rwalker@soundpublishing.com.

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