Guemes Island Ferry Committee

Meeting of March 15, 2022 – Minutes

The meeting convened at about 7:00 pm via Zoom with all committee members present. The following guests were also on the zoom call: Andy Leech, Forrest Nelson, Edith Walden.

At the election held last Saturday to approve amendments to the Charter, a couple of islanders were surprised that their names were not on the registered voter list. Those situations were unusual, understood, and not indicative of any systematic problem.

The upcoming election to fill the 2 open positions on the committee could be held either via mailed ballot using the USPS, or via in-person voting at The Hall. It was decided by a 4:1 vote to hold the election via a mailed ballot. The cost of this election was estimated to be about $800. Currently the GIFC has $76 in its coffers from cash contributions given at the 2022 Annual Meeting. Allen reported that raising the remainder of the election cost will not be a problem since Allen knows a group of 6 donors who will fund the election beyond whatever the GIFC is able to raise. Sandy asked who the donors are, but Allen was not at liberty to say. Sandy then questioned whether it was wise to accept anonymous donations if the five GIFC members are not allowed to know who the donor is – especially when the money can only be used for a purpose determined by the anonymous donor.

At last Saturday’s election: 184 ballots were distributed; 179 votes were cast; 1 ballot had no markings on it; 4 ballots were not found in the locked ballot box. The proposed Charter amendments did not pass given the 2/3 super majority requirement. The tallied votes were: 102 in favor of accepting the amendments, and 77 against (57% were in favor).

A candidate sheet will be placed in the mailed ballot envelops. The 3 candidates (Andy Leech, Forrest Nelson, Gabe Murphy) must submit a paragraph or two, but not more than 150 words total, about themselves to Allen by March 30th in order for that information to be included on the candidate sheet.

The GIFC will once again contract with Automated Mailing Service (AMS) in Blaine to implement the ballot mailing. Allen will be the contact for that relationship.

Arrangements will be made with the GI Library and GICCA so that islanders can manually place their ballots in the locked ballot box instead of via the mailed return envelope. Note the GI Library is scheduled to be open on April 21st to April 25th (Thursday through Monday from 12:30pm to 3:00pm).

Since mailed ballots are not as secure as in-person voting, various security measures were discussed:

  • The return envelope size is not a common size.
  • The ballot can be printed on watermarked paper (actual watermark, not the ink printed facsimile as was done in the last mailed election).
  • Any return addresses added by the voter on the return envelope will be blacked out before the return envelope is opened.

The following dates were established for the election process:

  • Candidate information paragraphs submitted to Allen by March 30th.
  • All election materials must be in Allen’s hands by March 31st.
  • Allen will distribute said election materials to all GIFC members for review by April 1st.
  • All information required to successfully implement ballot mailing will be delivered to AMS by April 4th.
  • AMS is expected to put the ballots in the USPS mail not more than 2 days later (by April 6th)
  • All returned ballots must be received (not just postmarked) by April 25th at the latest.
  • A public ballot counting will occur on April 26th.

The GIFC will need commitments from several vote counters for the public ballot counting (could be same folks who did the counting at the March 12th election).

A letter on GIFC letterhead will be sent to Skagit Public Works and ferry management thanking them for their hard work in securing all the funding required to design, build, and place in service the new 28-car, electric ferry.

[These minutes were taken by Sandy McKean]

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