ELECTIONS | Ballot counting goes smoothly with new system

Kitsap County election officials are happy with performance of their new counting system and improved ballots for voters.

The county installed a new ballot-counting system that was purchased from Hart InterCivic, a Texas company, this summer.

On Aug. 6, the Kitsap County Auditor’s Election Division had its first test of the new system with the primary election.

Dolores Gilmore, Kitsap County elections manager, said the ballot process went smoothly.

“In the ballots returned, we had a very low number of ballots where the voters didn’t understand how to mark the ballots, but they filled in the square just fine,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore said one minor problem was some voters used pencil instead of black or blue ink pen.

“Some voters are still using pencils,” she said. “Unless it’s really a dark pencil, the scanner doesn’t pick it up as well as ink. That’s one thing we are going to get out to voters is to use a blue or black ink pen.”

Gilmore said the election office is excited about going into the November general election.

“I don’t think the larger ballot will be an issue, but we know the turnout will be a lot larger,” she added.

In the Aug. 6 primary election, more than 27 percent of registered voters mailed in their ballots. Official election results were announced Aug. 20 and there were no changes in any results in the local races.

Only 26,051 of the registered 93,964 voters cast ballots, according to the Kitsap County Auditor’s Election Division.

In the Port Orchard City Council At-Large race, incumbent Jerry Childs received an impressive 58.5 percent of the 1,857 votes cast. Childs will meet newcomer Eric Gonnason (498 votes, 26.8 percent) in the Nov. 5 general election. Jeff Braden, another newcomer received just 232 votes (12.5 percent).

The election for the No. 1 commissioner’s race in the West Sound Utility District should be another close race in November. Neither of the two top finishers collected more than 50 percent of the votes.

Incumbents James Jay Hart (1,360) and Jeannie Screws (1,139) finished first and second, respectively, in the race. Hart finished with 43.5 percent and Screws had 36.4, while Kevin P. Long pulled in 19.2 percent of the votes.

In the District 26 State Senate race, State Rep. Jan Angel pulled in 8,109 (56.8 percent) compared to Sen. Nathan Schlicher’s 6,125 (42.9 percent) of the Kitsap County vote.

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