Late notice could cost SKSD $70,000

The South Kitsap School District will still make the Aug. 18 primary ballot, despite one of its candidates being ineligible.

And the gaffe will cost an estimated $70,000.

Gail Porter filed to run against incumbent Naomi Polen and former school board member Chris Lemke for the District 3 post, but she moved out of the area. When she notified the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office about her new address, the June 11 deadline to withdraw had passed.

Kitsap County elections manager Dolores Gilmore said candidates aren’t allowed to withdraw beyond that date because they need time to print and distribute ballots. She said military ballots were required to be mailed 30 days prior to the election.

“We’re in a race to get everything proofed and to a printer so we can meet that deadline,” said Gilmore, adding that Porter didn’t inform her office of the address change until July 18.

With just two candidates, a primary election wouldn't have been necessary. Instead, Gilmore said, South Kitsap must share the cost of the primary with other Kitsap jurisdictions, which she estimates will cost about $290,000 total.

South Kitsap has 39,199 registered voters out of 119,000 overall in this election, and Gilmore said the district bears a proportionate amount of that expense. And unlike other cities in the area, there are no city council races, which means Port Orchard isn't obligated to share in the expense.

It's another obstacle for a district that already had to find ways to close a projected $6.8 million deficit.

"I think most laws are put into place to better our society," school board president Patty Henderson said. "Sometimes there are some unintended and unfair consequences."

Henderson, now in the third year of her second term, actually moved after she was elected the first time from McCormick Woods to District 1, which serves downtown Port Orchard, Gorst and Sunnyslope. She was able to retain her position under state law for the remainder of that term because she had already been elected.

Henderson then ran in her new district and was reelected.

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