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Voter turnout high in Mukilteo, low in Snohomish County


December 6, 2017

Carolyn Weikel, Snohomish County Auditor.

The results for the 2017 general election in Washington were recently certified, and a new record low turnout occurred with just 37.1 percent of registered voters turning in ballots.

This “beats” the previous all-time low of 38.45 percent set just two years ago in 2015.

In Snohomish County, of the 453,062 registered voters, only 148,155 ballots were received, good for a turnout of just 32.7 percent, almost 5 percent less than the percentage for the state.

“In general I am disappointed in voter turnout in non-presidential year elections and what appears to be apathy on the part of our voters,” Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel said. “The ‘off years’ are most important as it relates to the day-to-day issues affecting our residents. The residents who are not registered to vote and those registered voters who don’t vote allow major decisions in our communities to be determined by so few.”

Weikel believes that a lack of statewide measures on the ballot likely attributed to the low voter turnout.

Despite a low turnout in Snohomish County as a whole, Mukilteo had a relatively good showing at the polls this year with a turnout of 51.4 percent.

That was the third-highest in Snohomish County, behind the small town of Index, which had a 72 percent voter turnout and the city of Snohomish, which received 53.3 percent of ballots.

“Mukilteo had three council seats on the ballot, which must have caused a lot of discussion and interest in the city,” Weikel said.

The most high-profile race was for Position 2 of Mukilteo’s City Council, which came down to the incumbent and current Council President Bob Champion and challenger Peter Zieve, the owner of Electroimpact.

Some voters, due to accusations of alleged workplace discrimination and an anonymous postcard campaign regarding a mosque being built in Mukilteo, saw Zieve as a controversial figure.

Some Mukilteo citizens who felt that Zieve should not hold office in Mukilteo formed a political action committee, “Mukilteo for All.”

The race also brought to light allegations of a romantic relationship between Champion and current Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson.

Jeff Wakeman, Gregerson’s ex-husband and one of Zieve’s employees, brought those allegations up during the campaign season.

Ultimately, Champion and Gregerson won their bids for reelection, gaining 66.27 percent and 54.16 percent in their respective races.

Mayor Gregerson ran for reelection against retired Air Force pilot Dan Matthews in a race that drew nearly 6,939 votes, and the race for Position 2 had 6,997.

Proposition 1, which passed with 54.1 percent of the vote, will raise the sales tax in Mukilteo by 0.1 percent in 2018 to help fund pavement preservation.

It was a hotly debated item during the campaign season, due in large part to the fact that Mukilteo will now have a sales tax of 10.4 percent, the highest in the country.

According to Michelle Meyer, the city’s finance director, they project that they will receive nearly $240,000 in 2018 from the tax increase.

More citizens voted on Proposition 1 than the races for Positions 1 and 3 of Mukilteo’s City Council.

The closest race in Mukilteo was between Geoffery W. Thorp and Shaun Olsen for Mukilteo School District 6 Director District 4.

Thorp, the incumbent, had held the seat since 2005.

Olsen ended up winning the race, receiving 50.47 percent to Thorp’s 48.36 percent.

Author Bio

Brandon Gustafson, Editor, Mukilteo Beacon

Brandon Gustafson was named editor of the Mukilteo Beacon in October, 2017. Born and raised in Mukilteo, Brandon attended Mukilteo Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and Kamiak High School, graduating in 2013. After high school, Brandon attended Shoreline Community College, earning his associate's degree while playing for the school's baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in communications-journalism.

Phone: 425-347-5634
Twitter: @MukBeaconBPG


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