The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
The Times 

Waitsburg's first county-administered election will determine council, mayor positions

The candidate filing period is May 17-21

 


WAITSBURG—The Walla Walla County General Election is slated for November this year, with a May 17-21 filing period. This election will include the Waitsburg City Council and Mayor positions.

Historically, the city’s elections were held annually according to the city’s Territorial Charter. In February of 2020, the Waitsburg City Council voted to change the election process following a public hearing, transferring the process to the County Auditor’s office. Under the new process, elections will be held in odd years and added to the Walla Walla County ballot in November.

In a letter to The Times in 2020, City Administrator Randy Hinchliffe felt the Charter’s election process was “...expensive and fraught with perceived unfounded biases, annual elections don’t allow City Staff to plan for anything longer than a year or so and can be extremely disruptive should large numbers of council positions change and new people come onto the City Council with limited or no knowledge of City operations.”

Former Mayor Markeeta Littlewolf was among the residents who voiced opposition to the change at the public hearing. Littlewolf strongly urged the council not to strip away yet another part of the city’s identity. Others disagreed with the city administrator’s assessment that moving the elections to the county would result in significant financial savings. There was concern that the longer terms may keep residents from considering serving on the council. Though prior terms were only one year, most council members have served many years with relatively little upset in continuity.

The move to put the city’s elections under the county auditor’s office means it must now follow Washington State’s RCW 29A.04.330 starting in 2022.

“All city, town, and district general elections shall be held throughout the state of Washington on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in the odd-numbered years.”

All five city council positions and the mayor position are scheduled for the 2021 Walla Walla County elections. For City Council, the three positions with the highest number of votes will serve four-year terms; the remaining positions will serve two-year terms. The Mayor will serve a four-year term.

Other positions up for election include a six-year regular county commissioner term, a four-year unexpired commissioner term for Fire Protection District 2 (Columbia Walla Walla County Fire District 2), and three positions for the Waitsburg Park and Recreation District (Commissioner sub-divisions 1, 3, and 5).

To declare candidacy for the Waitsburg City Council, the Fire Protection District, or Waitsburg Park and Recreation, visit https://www.co.walla-walla.wa.us/government/auditor/elections.php

The link to file online will not be available until May 17. Other information, including Voter’s Pamphlet submission deadlines and administrative rules, campaign finance reporting, and campaign sign regulations, are also available on the Elections Department website.

The declaration of candidacy can be found at https://tinyurl.com/4fnh9644

 

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