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December 12, 2018

8/22/2018 12:55:00 PM
Vote on charter and election of freeholders will be on fall ballot
Commissioners pass resolution authorizing vote

On August 3rd the citizen’s group Home Rule Skagit submitted 3,333 signatures to the County Auditor petitioning for a county charter. On Aug. 19 Skagit County Commissioners heard a report on the petition from County Elections Supervisor, David Cunningham. He stated that sufficient valid signatures had been submitted to get the measure on the ballot in November. The Commissioners passed a required resolution authorizing the vote and the selection of freeholders. Freeholder and charter are the terms used in the Washington State constitution. They are equivalent to delegate and constitutional convention.
Cunningham stated that voters will be posed a “twofold question” on the ballot. The first part of the ballot measure will ask whether a charter should be prepared by a board of freeholders. This first question will be a straight yes/no vote. The second part will be the selection of freeholders. Regardless of whether a voter answers yes or no to the first question, they can still vote for freeholders. There will be seven freeholder positions in each commissioner district, for a total of twenty-one. Voters will vote only for the seven freeholders in their district. If a majority of voters vote yes to the first question, the elected freeholders will meet and draft a proposal for a new form of county government. This proposal will come back to the voters for consideration, probably in 2019. No change occurs to county government unless voters approve the freeholders’ proposal.
Filing for freeholder will be open from Aug. 27-31. Candidates for freeholders must file in person at the Skagit County Auditor’s office, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., must have lived in Skagit County for at least five years and must be a registered voter in the district in which he or she is seeking office. The position is non-partisan, volunteer and uncomsated. Candidates must declare for one of the twenty-one positions based on where they live. 

Applicants filing run for election. They may submit a statement, biography, and photo for the County’s online voters’ pamphlet.
Kathy Kuba, of the Home Rule Skagit steering committee, said, “Now is the time to consider running for freeholder. We would like to see a slate of freeholder candidates that reflects Skagit’s rich demographic and geographic diversity. This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of Skagit County’s future, and it is grassroots democracy at its best.”
Home Rule Skagit is a group of nonpartisan county residents seeking to update county government as provided in the Washington State Constitution. The charter process is the only way that county government can be updated. Kuba stated that Home Rule Skagit “plans to hold many events and forums around the county in the coming months to educate voters about this exciting opportunity to create better local government”.
A charter referendum in 2003 received a 72 percent no vote. This is the second time this century it is on the ballot.
Contact Skagit County Elections with questions: (360) 416-1702, scelections@co.skagit.wa.us.
Source: Home Rule Skagit

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