Ballots are in the mail


November general election ballots should be arriving shortly in voters mailboxes, now that the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office mailed them October 13.

Ballots need to be postmarked by November 2 if returned by mail (no stamp needed) or dropped in one of the 21 ballot boxes in Whatcom County by 8 p.m. November 2. The nearest ballot boxes for Blaine, Birch Bay and Custer residents are the Blaine library at 610 3rd Street, North Whatcom Fire and Rescue station at 4581 Birch Bay-Lynden Road and Custer Elementary at 7660 Custer School Road.

“These races and measures are really important because they impact [residents] in their day to day lives,” Whatcom County auditor Diana Bradrick said. “It’s an important election so we hope people vote.”

People may also vote by visiting the auditor’s office in suite 103 at 311 Grand Avenue in Bellingham. The auditor’s office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-in appointments are welcome, but people must wear their masks regardless of vaccination status. Ballot drop boxes open October 13, as well as the voting center in the auditor’s office.

Voters should wait until Wednesday, October 20 to contact the auditor’s office about not receiving a ballot, Bradrick said. 

The deadline to register to vote online and by mail is Monday, October 25. After then, people will need to register to vote or change their voter registration at the auditor’s office. 

Bradrick recommends voters don’t mail their ballots after Thursday, October 28 if they want their ballots to arrive by Election Day. If voters wait until Election Day to mail ballots, Bradrick said people should know the last pick-up time for their mailbox or post office.

The security sleeve is optional, but ballots must be signed and returned in its      envelope. Unsigned and late ballots are the primary reasons for ballots not being counted, Bradrick said.

Residents will vote on candidates for Blaine City Council, Blaine school board, Whatcom County Council, and commissioner races at the Port of Bellingham, Birch Bay Water and Sewer District and Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2.

Ballots include two local measures to fund the fire district and Birch Bay library. Proposition 14 would establish a Birch Bay library capital facility area that would raise taxes by 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to pay for the future Birch Bay Vogt Community Library. The North Whatcom Fire and Rescue levy would increase the fire district’s levy by 30 cents per $1,000 to a total of $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed value to fund additional firefighters and purchase new equipment for the fire district. 

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