Voter guide has information on Whatcom election candidates

No long lines for Washington voters. Your ballot arrived by mail and, while you have until election day to vote, if you’re ready to vote now, The Bellingham Herald’s 2020 Voter Guide can help inform you about local and state candidates and measures.

First, your deadlines.

Ballots were mailed Oct. 16 but it make take several days to reach you. You have until Wednesday, Oct. 21, to contact the auditor at 360-778-5100 or [email protected] to get a replacement ballot.

If you’re unsure about your registration status, you can check on it by visiting the Washington Secretary of State’s website.

You have until Monday, Oct. 26, to register to vote or change your address online or by mail.

You can still register in person at the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office, 311 Grand Ave., from Tuesday, Oct. 27, until polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3. Face coverings and social distancing are required at the office, which is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

To ensure your mailed ballot is received in time to have a postmark of Nov. 3, the Postal Service recommends mailing it by Tuesday, Oct. 27. It’s free. No stamp is needed.

Whatcom County Auditor Diana Bradrick said if you want your ballot represented in the first tally released Election Night, you should have it deposited in a dropbox by Saturday, Oct. 31. “If they deposit later than that, their ballot will get counted, but will be in later released results,” Bradrick said. The auditor’s office is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 31.

If you’re waiting to vote, Bradrick recommends delivering your ballot to a dropbox by Monday, Nov. 2, to avoid lines election evening.

Finally, your ballot must be postmarked or dropped in one of the 18 boxes around the county by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.

And, be sure to sign your ballot.

Voter Guide

We sent questionnaires to dozens of statewide candidates, as well as local races in Bellingham and Whatcom County, for the Voter Guide. You can type in your address to pull up your ballot and learn more about the candidates’ backgrounds. For subscribers, we have their views on such topics as the economy, racism and criminal justice, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a roundup of stories about Whatcom County’s hottest races.

This public utility district election could impact Whatcom water, electricity, internet

Whatcom voters will choose between an 11-year incumbent and a challenger who has raised four times as much money in the campaign for Public Utility District No. 1 in the Nov. 3 election. The choice for commissioner will impact local water supply, energy infrastructure and internet connectivity.

Incumbent Jeff McClure has represented the agency’s 1st District, comprising southeast Whatcom County, since 2009 and currently serves as commission president. Christine Grant, a policy consultant and Western Washington University instructor, is challenging him for the seat.

Read the full story here.

Bellingham voters can choose to extend this sales tax on election day

Bellingham voters will have the chance to extend a decade-long 0.2% sales tax funding local transportation improvement projects on election day Nov. 3.

The Transportation Fund, previously known as the Transportation Benefit District, has brought in about $5 million in revenue each year since 2010 when 58% of voters first approved the sales tax, according to an July 6 City Council presentation.

The 2010 measure formed a special taxing district that the city absorbed in 2015. Since 2011, the funding has allowed the city to create or improve 52 miles of bikeways, repair or maintain 46 miles of streets and improve 9 miles of sidewalks and 40 crossings, according to a city website about the fund.

Read the full story here.

Coming up: Stories on Whatcom Superior Court judges, the 42nd state Legislature candidates and the Ferndale school levy.

Dropbox locations

▪ Acme Elementary, 5200 Turkington Road.

▪ Blaine Library, 610 3rd St.

▪ Birch Bay (North Whatcom Fire & Rescue), 4581 Birch Bay-Lynden Road.

▪ Custer Elementary, 7660 Custer School Road.

▪ Courthouse South Parking Lot, 201 Grand Ave.

▪ Deming Library, 5044 Mt. Baker Highway.

▪ Everson WECU, 106 E. Main St.

▪ Ferndale City Hall, 2095 Main St.

▪ Lummi Nation Administration Building, 2665 Kwina Road.

▪ Lynden Library, 216 4th St.

▪ Meridian (Laurel Grange), 6172 Guide Meridian.

▪ Kendall (North Fork Community Library), 7506 Kendall Road.

▪ Point Roberts Marketplace (8 a.m.-10 p.m.), 480 Tyee Dr.

▪ Sehome Haggens, 210 36th St., Haggen Sehome Village, NE Corner.

▪ Sudden Valley, Sudden Valley Security Turnaround, Gate One.

▪ Sumas, 534 Railroad Ave.

▪ Whatcom Community College, 231 W. Kellogg Road.

▪ WWU, on campus outside Wade King Student Recreation Center, 1880 Bill McDonald Parkway.

Julie Shirley directs news coverage for The Bellingham Herald and has been the executive editor since 2003. She’s been an editor in Florida, California and Washington since 1979.

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