Local election season kicks off

There are 15 open positions on Camas-Washougal city councils, school boards and commissions

Camas-Washougal area voters will decide the fate of 15 open positions on city councils, school boards and other commissions this year, beginning with the primary election on Aug. 3.

Candidates have until 5 p.m. May 21, to declare their intention to run for an open position. Registered Clark County voters will receive their primary ballots in the mail in mid-July.

Washougal voters will select a new mayor this year, as well as three council members and two school board members.

Open Washougal City Council seats include position 3, a four-year term currently held by Councilman Paul Greenlee; position 5, a two-year term currently held by Mayor Molly Coston; position 6, a four-year term currently held by Councilwoman Julie Russell; and position 1, the four-year, vacant mayoral position.

On April 21, Greenlee registered with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) as a full-reporting candidate (those expecting to raise more than $5,000 during a campaign) in the Washougal mayoral race.

Washougal School Board positions include the director 4 and director 5 seats currently held by school board members Donna Sinclair and Chuck Carpenter.

In Camas, there are three open city council positions — all are four-year terms — including Councilwoman Melissa Smith’s ward 1, position 2 seat; Councilman Steve Hogan’s ward 2, position 2 seat; and Councilwoman Ellen Burton’s ward 3, position 2 seat.

Burton announced in late April that she does not intend to run for reelection this year.

In the Camas School District, school board members Corey McEnry’s and Erika Cox’s four-year district 1 and district 2 seats are open. Cox and McEnry have both registered with the PDC as mini-reporting candidates (those raising less than $5,000 during a campaign) for the 2021 elections — McEnry on Feb. 21, and Cox on March 19.

The Port of Camas-Washougal also has two open commissioner positions this year: the four-year term district 1 seat held by Commissioner John Spencer and the four-year district 3 seat held by Commissioner Larry Keister.

Voters in the East County Fire and Rescue district, which covers emergency medical and fire calls in rural areas north of Camas and Washougal, also have choices to make in this year’s elections. The ECFR District has two, six-year commission seats open in 2021, including position 3, currently held by Commissioner Mike Berg; and position 5, currently held by Commissioner Sherry Petty.

The top two candidates will go on to compete in the general election on Nov. 2. Because the local councils, schools boards, port commission and fire district commission are all considered nonpartisan offices, a primary election will only be held in the case of more than two candidates vying for the same position. If only one or two people are running, there is no primary election and the candidates will only compete in the November general election.

Voters can choose to write-in the name of a candidate for any position, but write-in candidates must submit a declaration of write-in candidacy to have officials count their votes. Camas’ mayor, Barry McDonnell, won his 2019 campaign as a write-in candidate.

Candidates can declare their intention to run in-person, online or via mail. Due to the ongoing pandemic, county election officials are urging candidates to declare online at clarkvotes.org; or by mail to Clark County Elections, P.O. Box 8815, Vancouver, WA 98666. Mail-in declarations must arrive no later than 5 p.m. May 21. Online declarations must be made by 4 p.m. May 21, and in-person candidates who choose to go to the county elections office in Vancouver must declare by 5 p.m. May 21.

County elections staff will hold a drawing shortly after 5 p.m. May 21 to determine the order of candidates on the ballot. Candidates must submit information for the Voter’s Pamphlet by 5 p.m. May 28. Candidates have until 5 p.m. May 24 to withdraw. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/wv88sshv.