County turns out to vote
Election coordinator impressed by turnout
November 16, 2023
The Wahkiakum County Auditor’s office has received 1,646 ballots so far from 3,490 voters registered in the county, and are waiting for any remaining ballots posted on or before Nov. 7 to trickle in.
That’s an “impressive 47 percent turnout,” Election Coordinator Amanda Boehler said, “much higher than many of the larger counties in the state.”
“[It] really goes to show that our community cares a lot about who they choose to put into local offices to make the choices that affect our day-to-day lives,” she added.
The initial count last Tuesday was followed by a second count on Friday, and Boehler believes there are now fewer than 40 ballots left for their next count scheduled for Nov. 17. The vote will be certified Nov. 28.
The only race still in contention is for the Town of Cathlamet Council Position 3 between incumbent Joe Baker and challenger Michael Severson. Baker currently leads by six votes, 90-84.
Aris Campbell held onto his seat on the board of the Naselle Grays River Valley School District, beating challenger Luke Gardner in the multi-county race, 393-256. Campbell received 150 votes from Wahkiakum voters, while Gardner received 96, with the difference made up by Pacific County voters.
Brian Heston will fill the seat vacated by outgoing Director Paula Culbertson on the Wahkiakum School District Board after beating Chris Gartski 882-412.
Patty Anderson will continue to serve another term on the Wahkiakum School Board after beating her challenger, Kandice Merz, 926-429.
Oliver van den Berghe held on to the Commissioner 2 position for Fire Protection District 2 with an 83-52 win over challenger Jeff Waters.
Voters agreed to a levy increase for Fire Protection District 4 with a 335-226 vote.
James Sorenson received 596 votes for the Port 1 Commissioner 1 position; Scott Anderson received 621 votes for the Port 1 Commissioner 2 position. Austin Burkhalter received 638 votes for Port 2 Commissioner 3. Robert Torppa received 237 in county votes to be elected to the NGRVSD Board of Directors. Torppa received another 324 votes in Pacific County, for a total of 561 votes.
Robert Stowe will serve another term on the Town of Cathlamet with 123 votes for Position 1. Kermit Chamberlain received 141 votes for Position 2.
Tom Merz will take over the Commissioner 2 position for Fire Protection District 1 with 238 votes. Michael Whalen secured 243 votes for the Commissioner 2 position with Fire Protection District 3. James McCoy picked up 432 votes for the Commissioner 2 position with Fire Protection District 4.
A potential recount in the Baker-Severson race it would be automatically triggered in the event that the margin between the two candidates were less than one-half of one percent, or if one of the candidates chose to pay for a recount, Boehler said.
The election will be certified on Nov. 28 during a canvassing board meeting, Boehler added. In the meantime the Auditor’s office would like voters to know that if they received a notice that their signature didn’t match or was missing, there is still time to respond and have their ballot counted.