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Incorporation fails after late absentee count

"Incorporation has gone before Silverdale voters twice before 1999 and it failed both times. This year appears to be no exception.Despite a 56-vote lead on election day, support for incorporation dwindled in the ensuing absentee ballot counts. After late absentee ballots were counted Wednesday, Nov. 10, cityhood faced a 14-vote deficit. Fewer than 100 Silverdale ballots remain to be counted.The most recent numbers show 2,086 no votes versus 2,072 yes votes. The remaining 100 ballots will undergo scrutiny by the county Canvass Board before counting. The board will determine the status of the ballots that have problems ranging from a difficulty passing through the computerized tabulator to questionable signatures. Kitsap County Auditor Flynn said she thinks the current result will hold. “The trend wouldn’t change by as much as is needed to – so the probability against it changing is slim. Very slim,” she said.“But it’s possible,” Flynn laughed, pointing to her prediction last week that vote would stay in favor. “There may be up to 100 votes and there is only a 14-vote difference. So it is possible.”Don’t expect an automatic recount, even if the final count is tighter than the 14 votes. “There is no automatic recount provision for issues or measures on the ballot – you only have automatic recounts for candidate races,” Flynn said.However, anyone can call for a recount, if they can pony up the cash for it. Recounting the ballots requires a deposit of 5 cents per ballot, or between $207.90 and $212.90 depending on the number of ballots still uncounted. If the recount yields a different result than the auditor’s initial count, then the county absorbs the cost. If it affirms the auditor’s count, then the results stand and the auditor keeps the cash.Incorporation proponents were not sounding as optimistic as Flynn. “I’m pretty disappointed,” said Richard Sheak, president of pro-cityhood group Citizens for Silverdale. “If it maintains this way ... it’s not going to change. Overall, I think the results are questionable.”Sheak raised concerns about public disclosure, inappropriately posted signs and questions about whether only Silverdale residents voted on the issue. “We were suspicious about other things, too. But we don’t want to start slinging mud and getting into fights with people because we think it sounds like sour grapes,” he said.Instead, Sheak said he and other incorporation proponents plan to resubmit the petition for immediate reconsideration.County Commissioner Tim Botkin, who was an outspoken opponent of the incorporation proposal, said the failing vote will relieve some pressure on the county. “We’ve had to focus so much on the big dent (in the budget from incorporation and Initiative 695). For the short term, Silverdale has a bigger impact than I-695 on the budget,” he said.Though pleased with the effect on the county’s coffers, Botkin said his next big project is addressing the issues raised during the incorporation campaign. “I’m holding my breath - but we have a lot of work to do to help Silverdale address those legitimate issues that were raised during the campaign,” Botkin said. “It adds to my plate, but I look forward to it - assuming incorporation fails.”Regardless, Botkin said he will continue pursuing the charter form of county governance. “It’s a perfect discussion point for charter county. The whole discussion (with incorporation) has been the trade off between better representation and adding a newer layer of government. You can bet I’m going to be working on this harder now.”"

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