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Nine candidates win seats on the community council board
Nearly 1,000 people voted for candidates for the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council’s board of directors, selecting the following to serve on the nine-member panel: Tom Bangasser, Hillary Emmer, Jake Jacobovitch, AnnaLisa LaFayette, Bill Rowling, Carl Sells, Doug Skove, Mary G.L. Shackelford and Frederick Woodruff.
Not elected was Stephen Luhr.
Roger Fulton, who chaired the community council’s Elections Committee, said he was pleased with the turnout.
“I think it was great,” he said, noting the turnout was comparable to that of four years ago, when Vashon had poll voting.
Paper ballots were counted last week at the Land Trust Building, a public process that went “well and efficiently,” he added. “We did a good job.”
Bangasser, however, said he’s troubled by the electoral process and is calling for the election to be declared invalid. In an e-mail to Fulton and the community council’s Outreach Committee, he questioned the election’s integrity, noting that people could easily vote multiple times by photo-copying their ballot or going online and revoting.
Bangasser plans to take up the issue first at the next community council general meeting — which will be held on Monday, Nov. 15. If the council doesn’t respond, he added in a brief interview, he plans to turn to both the King County prosecutor’s office and the state Attorney General’s office to get the election declared null and void.
“There’s a protocol here. If we don’t protect the integrity of this organization, then it’s open season,” he said.
Fulton said the process used was one spelled out by the community council in March 2009 — a process anyone could have challenged in the months prior to November’s election.
“There’s nothing that we did that wasn’t open to the public. The meetings were open to the public. ... If (Bangasser) were genuinely concerned about some of these items, where was he months ago?” Fulton asked.
All told, 967 ballots were cast, 620 online and 347 by paper ballot. Eighteen ballots were either partially or completely invalid, Fulton said.
The community council in March 2009 decided to use what’s called “ranked-choice voting” in the election — where the preference a candidate receives (in this case, on a scale of one to nine) is weighted and contributes to his or her vote total. Using this approach, the candidates with the highest-to-lowest voter support were: Emmer, Shackelford, Jacobovitch, Bangasser, La-
Fayette, Woodruff, Rowling, Sells and Skove.
Based on those who received a vote of one rank or another — or a count as opposed to a ranking — the results come out differently, with the highest-to-lowest count looking like this: Shackelford, Emmer, Jacobovitch, LaFayette, Sells, Woodruff, Skove, Rowling, Luhr and Bangasser.
Fulton, however, said that the count is not relevant under ranked-choice voting. The purpose of ranked-choice voting is to ensure in a ballot with a long list of candidates that those who have the strongest support get a seat.
“It’s set up to give people with strong minority support representation,” Fulton said.
The election comes after a tumultuous period for the community council, which saw all nine of its board members resign en masse after a legal opinion by the county prosecutor’s office that the board has to comply with the far-reaching Public Disclosure Act and a confrontation with Bangasser. Only Emmer, who decided to rescind her resignation, stayed on the board and ran for a seat in this month’s election.
Bangasser, a business consultant, meanwhile, said he’s eager to get to work, once the legitimacy of the election is determined.
“We’re not out to gore anybody’s ox,” he said. “We just need to clean this up so that we can move on to substantive issues.”
The Vashon-Maury Island Community Council will hold its general membership meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, at McMurray Middle School, where the results of the board election will be announced. Lauren Smith from King County will give an overview of how the Public Records Act affects board members as well as committee members.