Election Update: Strong pulls ahead in commission race; auditor issues warning
November 15, 2018
Challenger Gene Strong took a six-vote lead over incumbent county Commissioner Blair Brady in the latest count of Wahkiakum County general election votes.
After the Thursday morning count, Strong, the former county sheriff, led Brady 1,188 to 1,182.
The next count will be at 12 noon Nov. 27. There were three ballots left to count as of Thursday afternoon, and a few more continue to arrive, according to Auditor Nicci Bergseng.
The race may go to recount, depending on the Nov. 27 count. Bergseng has queried the office of the Secretary Of State for up to date instructions for a recount.
If the race ends in a tie, it would be settled by chance in a mutually agreed manner, such as a coin flip.
Brady lost his first election by coin flip. He ran again and won.
In the county's other close race, incumbent Bill Coons led challenger Brian McClain 1,239 to 1,131 in the election for county assessor.
Also,incumbent Dist. 19 Rep. Jim Walsh clung to a narrow lead over Erin Frasier in the race for that position; the district wide count is 25,417 to 24,787; Walsh has 50.63 percent of the vote compared to Frasier's 49.37 percent.
Auditor Bergseng on Tuesday warned voters that someone has been falsely telling people their ballots have been challenged.
"I received notice from a voter that a letter was left on her door that reads as follows, ‘Your ballot is being challenged by the Wahkiakum County Auditor’s office due to a signature error.'
"Attached to the letter was a missing signature form. It asks the voter to fill out the form and return it to us as soon as possible to make sure their ballot is counted. It also states that if they have received notice from the Election’s Office then disregard this message.
"We want people to know that we don’t send people out to their house to verify signatures. We will send out a signed letter from our office on letterhead. The list of contested signatures was not a current list and we have no idea where the information came from. We also want to remind people to please not give out any personal information to anyone they are unsure of. This person identified himself as being from ‘the party' and we don’t know who he was or where he was from.
"I would also like to encourage people to bring in the letter they received and or contact our office, and we will confirm that their ballot was received and counted."