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Whatcom Conservation District Board Election Certified

August 2015


Whatcom Conservation District Board Election Certified

by Barbara Perry

The Washington Conservation Commission (WCD) has finally certified the results of the March 10 election for the Whatcom Conservation District board after counting the 228 contested ballots. Ballots were all certified when voter intent was clear.

The final vote tally, certified by the commission on July 16: Larry Helm won by 46 votes with 2,142 votes. Joy Monjure had 2,096.

The Washington Conservation Commission is requesting anyone having ideas for improving the voting system to present their ideas before Sept 4. See Bill Eller’s statement at the end of this article on how to comment.

Unfortunately, there are still unanswered questions about the 2015 ballot, such as how many requested ballots were not mailed.

Commission Chairman Bill Eller told me that they “assumed” the number of ballots not received were “very small.” How do they know? They do not keep track of requested ballots, if ballots were mailed and/or if they were denied. Mr. Eller says it is not a requirement to keep track, but why not? Citizens need to check the WCD site more election specifics.

Except for 2012, most past WCD elections were small with a select group of candidates and small number of voters (from 11 to 37) except for the 2012 election: Helm, a Tea Party leader with 713 votes and Jane Uerling 649 votes.

The 2012 election was the subject of a Whatcom Watch article that focused the county’s awareness of this election. City voters became aware and requested ballots, many of which were disqualified and not counted.

But in 2015, the final vote tally was contested so all votes were opened and counted.

This election was quite a headache for office workers; they are reportedly tired of dealing with the election and not having time for their usual important work.

Of the representatives to the board of WCD since 2009, there have been only two women, both progressives. Both of those women lost by tiny margins. Neither have any farm workers been represented.

Another system of electing board members should be devised. Hopefully citizens will send in their recommendations. The board position is not a paid position but decisions are made that affect all of the county’s residents, land and water. All residents of the Whatcom County need to be represented.

From Bill Eller:

[Election] Details are available at

... For the election and appointment policy and procedures clarifications, the due date for comments is September 4, 2015. Please use the Feedback Form to submit your comments.

Upon receipt of comments from districts ... The senior leadership team will then make their recommendations for the final policy at the September commission meeting.

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