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Election season will be busy in Snoqualmie

SNOQUALMIE - It may be the election of the century ... in Snoqualmie, anyway.

Come Nov. 8, Snoqualmie voters will have to select an almost entirely new council and mayor. Combine that with a variety of swirling hot-button issues and the added political heat of declared party affiliations and mix well for the soupiest election season this side of the Cascades.

Six of the seven City Council positions are up for election. Jeff MacNichols in position No. 2 is the lone standby. He will keep his seat until Dec. 31, 2007, when his term expires.

City clerk Jodi Warren said an unusually large number of open seats in one election is a first in Snoqualmie history and possibly elsewhere around the state. This is due to the addition of council positions 6 and 7, added as a result of the population increase and the resignation and appointment of council position No. 4. Positions 1, 3 and 5 are at the end of their terms.

"It's very unusual. Especially in light of the city's growing pains," Warren said. "I doubt this will ever happen again with this many vacancies."

The mayor's seat is a four-year term expiring in December of 2009. Positions No. 1, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7, currently held, respectively, by Matt Larson, Greg Fullington, Maria Hendriksen and Katherine Prewitt, are also four-year terms and will expire in December of 2009. Positions No. 4 and No. 6, currently held by Kingston Wall and Charles Peterson, respectively, are two-year terms and will expire in December of 2007.

All city council candidates must pay a filing fee of $60. Mayoral candidates must pay a filing fee of $200.

Candidates may begin filing for office by mail July 11 though July 29. Candidates may also file online during the week of July 25 through July 29. A list of who has filed will be posted daily at: www.metrokc.gov/elections.

Candidates must be registered voters residing in the jurisdiction in which they want to be elected. To officially file for an office, candidates must complete a "Declaration of Candidacy" form and file it with the King County Elections Office.

Last November, Initiative No. 872 was passed during the general election that requires all candidates to declare a political party when running for a "partisan" office. All state offices besides superintendent of public instruction and judicial positions are partisan offices.

If more than two candidates run for the same position, that race would go straight to the primary election on Sept. 20. The primary election serves to reduce the number of candidates in each race down to two. Only two candidates can run for the same position to be voted on in the Nov. 8 general election.

Because the current council positions 4, 5, 6 and 7 were appointed, the successful candidates of the November election will be seated immediately following the certification of election, instead of waiting until Jan. 1, Warren said. With the budget up for approval on Dec. 12, that means a novice council would have to make decisions about the budget straight out of the starting blocks.

Currently, Snoqualmie has 4,160 registered voters, 3,636 of whom are active voters, meaning they voted in the last election. Of those active voters, 2,031 voted by mail (absentee ballot).

All registered voters should have received new voter cards in the mail; those who have not received a new card by July 15 should call King County Elections. King County Elections advises voters to double check their cards to ensure the information is correct. If your address or name has changed, call King County Elections. Inaccurate and outdated information may delay or suspend delivery of your absentee ballot. Your voting status will become inactive if your card is returned undeliverable.

To keep election scandals at a minimum, return election mail if you are not the voter listed on the card. Simply write "addressee moved, return to sender" on the card and drop it in the mail. Voters can also update their information or report the death of a family member or friend by calling the King County Elections at (206) 296-VOTE.

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