Kitsap voters survive new primary format

The students in Debbie Klabo’s fifth-grade U.S. history class dutifully filed into the Esquire Hills Elementary School library on Tuesday afternoon. The students were curious and eager to learn about the real-life lesson in democracy unfolding before their eyes during the state primary election. As a steady stream of voters came into the library, the children asked polling supervisor Marie Wick about the process and what would happen next.

Klabo, meanwhile, stood behind her students and beamed.

“I thought, ‘What’s a better way to learn about democracy?” Klabo said.

Esquire Hills Elementary was one of the dozens of polling places for Kitsap voters to go and choose their candidates for November.

Kitsapers voted for their favorite candidates in a variety of elections Tuesday. For the first time, voters had to declare a political party to vote in the partisan races and were restricted to voting for candidates in their chosen party. Voters were still allowed to vote for all the nonpartisan candidates. As a result of lawsuits by the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties, federal courts deemed the previous Washington primary to be unconstitutional. The state switched to the current Montana-style primary.

“I hate it,” said Karen Gentry of the new primary style. Gentry was voting at Bremerton Junior High School.

She would rather be able to vote for the candidate of her choice, rather than be restricted to her party affiliation, she said.

Adam Brockus, another BJHS voter, had difficulty of another kind. He said BJHS was a bad choice for a polling place because the parking was inconvenient. In previous years the polls at BJHS were located near the parking lot in a closer building.

Brockus also didn’t like the fact that no one double-checked his ballot after he turned it in to make sure it was done correctly.

He used to vote in King County and at those polling places, the poll workers would feed the ballots into a machine. The machine would check the ballot to make sure all offices were voted for and offer the voter a chance to fill in any blanks.

“That blue box ain’t going to do it,” Brockus said after he dropped his ballot into the locked box.

“We’ve actually had more complaints about the distance (from the parking lot) than on the new primary,” said Bessie Workman, polling supervisor at BJHS. A group of unknown mischievous students at BJHS also didn’t help the polling location

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