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Freeholders to be elected by district

"Citizens who would write the rules of a new county government will be elected within the framework of the old one.The Kitsap County Commissioners all but made that official Monday when they decided that 21 freeholders - seven for each of the three commissioner districts - will be elected this fall by running only within the district where they live.The freeholders will draft a home rule form of county governance if, in the same November general election, voters approve a proposal to study overhauling the current three-commissioner style of government.So far, home rule proposals include electing a county executive and a seven-member county council, and authority for citizens to petition for changes of county laws.The decision in favor of electing freeholders by district - which the commissioners plan to make official at their April 17 meeting - was what leading supporters of home rule wanted. They paraded before the commissioners Monday with a shared point: That electing freeholders countywide wouldn't be practical or the best way to make it a grassroots process.Give voters a break with by-district voting, said Ayvon Card. The Port Orchard resident said it would be impossible for voters to be fully informed on a possible countywide slate of 60 or so freeholder candidates.Representation of the general public will be easier for freeholders if they're elected on a more local basis, Commissioner Charlotte Garrido agreed.Commissioner Tim Botkin went along with a citizen's analogy that electing freeholders should be like electing state legislators: They work on behalf of common government goals, but they particularly represent the constituents of their districts.On another issue related to the freeholder election, the commissioners gave another concession to home rule backers by reducing the filing fee for freeholder candidates from $50 to $25.For more information on Home Rule, visit www.khomerule.com."

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