COOS COUNTY — Coos County residents decided on three ballot issues in almost record low voter turnout in Tuesday's special election.
“We processed 6,903 ballots,” said Debbie Heller, Coos County Elections Clerk while ballots were still being counted late Tuesday evening.
Heller said in previous years, 18 percent of ballots was the typical low. So far on Tuesday night, there was only 15.56 percent ballots turned in. She pointed to the two city issues and the one county election as the reason why.
“Lakeside is a small area and the other question was within the city limits of Bandon,” Heller said. "Measures bring out voters, they draw interest.”
On the ballot for Lakeside residents, voters shot down a measure that would have brought in more law enforcement coverage. The ballot issue asked residents if the city should impose a $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed value for a total of five years, which would have raised property taxes by three percent.
As of Tuesday evening, early numbers showed 56.82 percent of voters said no.
In Bandon, residents approved a measure asking if the city should issue $5,500,000 of General Obligation Bonds to improve its water and sewer treatment, distribution and collection systems.
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Preliminary numbers showed 62.80 percent of voters said yes.
“I just want to thank the voters with all my heart," said Bandon Mayor Mary Schamehorn. "This was such an important vote and to have the support of the majority of those casting their ballots was so important. We are now able to move forward with maintaining and upgrading our sewer and water systems. Eventually, we hope that the voters will return rate-setting authority to the council, but this is definitely an important step in taking care of our vital utilities.”
Voters throughout Coos County were asked to elect seven directors to the Coos County Area Transportation District. Eight candidates filed, but early numbers showed John Favors falling behind in votes. Favors brought in the least votes at 10.47 percent.
Of the candidates, Timm Slater brought in the most votes at 13.08 percent, followed by Rebecca Jennings at 13 percent. Also elected were Doug Veysey, LouAnn Dewater, Richard Leshly, Melissa Dovenspike and Lauren Morris.
The final numbers will be released later tonight, though Heller said some ballots have already been set aside for signature discrepancies or for missing signatures entirely.
“We will notify the voters if there was an issue on their ballot and they will have 14 days to resolve it,” she said. “I thank the people that did vote.”