By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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The final day to vote is still two days away.
“I think we’ll get quite a few in [this] week,” Clallam County Auditor Patty Rosand said Friday of Sequim- and Forks-area elections that include voters from Clallam and Jefferson counties.
“A lot of people like to vote on Election Day.”
Auditor’s offices in Clallam and Jefferson counties reported that voters have returned a combined 41 percent of ballots — or 9,009 of 21,790 issued — as of Friday for two special-election property-tax levy proposals that would generate funds for the Sequim School District.
In addition, a combined 28 percent — or 916 of 3,242 issued — of Quillayute Valley School District voters in the two counties have returned their ballots for a proposed maintenance-and-operations property-tax levy for the district’s Forks-area public schools.
Clallam County Elections Coordinator Shoona Radon said 226 ballots were returned Friday for the special elections in Sequim and Forks.
That brings the total to 8,890 ballots returned in Clallam County for the Sequim School District maintenance-and-operations and bus-replacement levies and brings the total to 889 for the Quillayute Valley School District levy.
Ballots received Friday added 208 ballots to the Sequim district’s total of 21,522 issued in Clallam County and added 18 ballots to the total of 3,105 ballots issued for the Quillayute district’s ballot measure.
Karen Cartmel, chief deputy auditor for Jefferson County, said 39 more ballots had been received for the Sequim measures as of Friday, bringing the total to 119 ballots of 268 issued to Jefferson County voters.
She said five more ballots had been received as of Friday of 137 issued for the Quillayute measure, bringing the total to 27 ballots returned.
Ballots were mailed out by election workers Jan. 23.
To be valid, ballots must be postmarked or returned to the Auditor’s Office at the Clallam County Courthouse at 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles by Tuesday or placed in a drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Drop boxes are outside the courthouse, in the Forks District Court lobby at 502 E. Division St. and at Sequim City Hall at 152 W. Cedar St.
Sequim School District voters are being asked to approve a four-year maintenance-and-operations levy to generate $5.8 million a year.
The four-year levy is a replacement for one that expires this year, school officials said.
This year, property owners within the district will pay $1.59 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, for a total of $5.78 million, school officials said.
The estimated rate would be about $1.60 per $1,000 of property value, or $320 a year for a $200,000 home, from 2014 through 2017.
Sequim also is seeking a one-year $1.6 million transportation levy that would add an estimated 44 cents per $1,000 of property value, or $88 for a $200,000 home.
The levy would provide the district with enough money to buy 17 buses over the next four years, according to district officials.
The Qullayute Valley School District is asking for approval of a four-year maintenance-and-operations levy that would generate $628,000 annually from 2014 through 2017.
The amount that would be collected is identical to that generated by the existing two-year levy, school officials said.
The estimated rate would be $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value — $290 a year for a $200,000 home or $145 annually for a $100,000 home.
If the levy passes, the district plans to resurface the Spartan Stadium track, add safety upgrades to crosswalks and sidewalks on South Elderberry Avenue, put new drain vents on the Forks Middle School roof, re-roof Forks Alternative School and the Independent Learning Center Annex, replace district motor pool vehicles, replace the middle school freezer and 1970s-era carpeting at Forks Elementary School, purchase textbooks and fund annual technology upgrades.
If the levy is not passed, the district would lose more than $2 million in levy equalization funds from the state annually, according to district officials.
Any voter in the Sequim or Quillayute Valley school districts who does not receive a Clallam County primary election ballot should phone the Auditor’s Office at 360-417-2221 or visit the courthouse office.
Voters also can visit www.clallam.net/elections, click on “My Vote” and print a replacement ballot.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice contributed to this report.