Special irrigation election ballots being counted
LAKE COUNTY – The 2019 Irrigation District Election ballots have been sent in by voters, and the the Lake County Election Office released the unofficial results on Tuesday, July 26.
The ballot measures were originally scheduled to go out with the May 7 Special District and School District Election mail-in ballots, but voting was delayed to ensure a fair election.
While processing the ballots, election officials noticed discrepancies concerning the number of acres owned by voters, which was a problem because irrigation election voters get one vote for each irrigated acre they own. Irrigation districts quickly went to work and reported the correct number of acres for each voter and rescheduled the election for July.
The ballots were sent out with a few choices. In the Flathead District, two board positions needed to be decided. For division two in the Flathead District, the candidates were Bill Hocker and incumbent David Lake for a three-year term. The unofficial count put Lake at 33,221. Hocker’s count was at 19,825. The Flathead District’s division four had two more candidates running for another three-year term. Incumbent Janette Rosman received 30,176 votes to Gene Lowder's 22,164.
Jocko District incumbent Boone Cole and Mission District incumbent Ray Swenson’s board positions were also up for election, but they were uncontested, so they were both sworn in earlier this year.
The next issue on the ballot concerned a referendum. Voters were asked to vote “for” or “against” a decision to allow commissioners in the Jocko and Mission irrigation districts to join board operations to create a joint board of control. The joint board would operate, manage, supervise and maintain the operation of these districts jointly.
Swenson, the Mission District commissioner, has said that working together would “simplify things.” He explained that it’s more convenient for the public to attend one joint meeting instead of two and that office management and operating costs are more manageable together.
In the Jocko District, 1,846 votes were cast for a joint board with 1,680 votes against it. In the Mission District, 5,737 votes were for joint operations and 1,874 were against it.