Clerk: Write-in campaign will delay results

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SANDPOINT — The Bonner County Clerk’s Office is advising voters to expect delayed election results because of an active write-in campaign by incumbent county Commissioner Lewis Rich.

Bonner County’s paper ballots are tallied by an optical scanning machine. The ballot-counting machine is programmed to detect write-in selections although it cannot read the name listed by a voter, which means those ballots have to be counted by hand in the Nov. 6 election.

Rich lost the Republican nomination for the District 3 seat on the board to Cary Kelly during last May’s primary by a 359-vote margin. Rich announced in August that he will try to retain his post as a write-in candidate.

Rich ousted former Commissioner Karl Dye by clinching the GOP nod in the 2006 primary. Dye launched a write-in campaign to try and retain office, but the effort was not successful.

Rich finished that contest with 5,970 votes, compared to Dye’s 3,756 votes.

The hand count in Dye’s bona fide write-in campaign delayed the final results until about 1 p.m. the day after the election.

There has never been a successful write-in campaign for county office in Bonner County history, according to the clerk’s office.

Other county races on the ballot include a District 1 race between Republican Joyce Broadsword and Steve Johnson, an independent. Incumbent Sheriff Daryl Wheeler faces challenger Rocky Jordan, a constitutional candidate.

There’s a three-way race for prosecutor between incumbent Republican Louis Marshall, Michael Waldrup and Tevis Hull, both of whom are running as independents.

Voters will also be asked if Barbara Buchanan should be retained as a magistrate court judge.

The clerk’s office put up a web page listing all the races on the ballot, in addition to constitutional amendments, ballot propositions and local option tax proposals (www.co.bonner.id.us).

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