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"Incorporation election, part II, heats up"

"Both sides of the incorporation debate are galvanizing their troupes in anticipation of an 11th-hour battle for swing votes.Three pro-incorporation groups became one last week, while the sole anti-incorporation organization stepped up its efforts.Voters in the 14,000-strong urban area face a “do-over” of the incorporation election. All agree the second incorporation vote will be a toss-up.The Nov. 2 election certainly was – with only 5 more voters opposing incorporation than favoring it. But county errors in establishing the city boundaries to the tune of 52 votes either cast illegally or withheld from rightful voters force another go at the ballot.If voters give the thumbs up to the mail-in ballot Feb. 1 election, they can look forward to city council primaries and general elections in the following six months. Cityhood boosters – Silverdale-Now, Silverdale 2000 and Citizens for Silverdale – collapsed their separate campaigns into one last week, citing a short campaign time frame and parallel goals. The separate campaigns represent getting incorporation on the ballot, a business lobby and a citizens-only group, respectively.“We agree that a single pro-incorporation group would be more efficient for this round of the campaign,” said Bert Cole, a former Silverdale Chamber of Commerce president and Silverdale 2000 spokesman, in a written statement. Cityhood foes and long-time Silverdale attorneys Ron Templeton and Rick Smith plan to officially incorporate their campaign, Save Our Silverdale. In the previous election, they spoke against incorporation in public forums but did not raise any funds.Smith said SOS will solicit funds and doorbell. He said the group already has more than $1,000 in its coffers. It is shooting for a little more than $5,000 to get a mailing off the ground.“It just goes to show after 40 years of being active in politics in Kitsap County, you just can’t predict the voters,” former state legislator Smith said. “Like everyone else, I assumed it would probably pass. I thought it would be close, but not this close.”More voters will have a shot at the incorporation vote this time: voter registration is still open for the second election, and won’t close for walk-ins until Jan. 14. The auditor’s office already has tallied 7,151 registered voters, an improvement on the Nov. 2 election’s 7,096.The February election will be different from the November election in two ways: it will be a special election, not just another issue on the general election ballot, and it will be mail-in only.Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn expects the differences to boost participation. Only 59 percent of Silverdale residents voted on the incorporation issue in November, fewer than the 93 percent countywide average.“I expect it is likely to be a 65 percent turnout, but it may be a greater percentage turnout because vote by mail does increase voter participation,” Flynn said.The change in format will not likely impact the vote, Flynn said. In November, poll voters voted 50.61 percent to 49.39 against incorporation, but it was the late absentee ballots that swung the election.“What was so surprising was the people who voted later by absentee were so different than those who voted early (by absentee),” Flynn said. “The absentees counted on election night were 51.71 percent yes and 48.29 percent no. ... I didn’t think the outcome would change because it would take a 4 percent difference, but it did.”"

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