Voters throughout Inyo County will have a chance to redeem themselves this fall after the dismal turnout at the polls this past June.
With only one local race affecting voters of one district and close to a dozen incumbents running unchallenged for re-election, Inyo County saw one of the lowest voter turnout totals in recent history. According to the final results from the June 3 Primary, only 3,916 of the countyâ€™s 9,506 registered voters participated in the election, for a 41.2 percent turnout.
The participation state wide was worse, with California recording a 24 percent voter turnout.
If lack of local candidates to actually vote on was indeed the culprit at the county level, Novemberâ€™s General Election looks to be a game-changer.
A filing period for 25 available elected positions throughout the county opens on Monday, giving interested residents the opportunity to run for public office in November.
So depending on the response from residents, November ballots, in addition to featuring the top two vote-getters in state races from the June 3 Primary, could also include several local contests for hospital and school board seats from Round Valley to Lone Pine.
In the City of Bishop, voters will also be tasked with filling two seats on the City Council. Those positions, four-year terms, are currently filled by Keith Glidewell and Jim Ellis.
Ellis was elected in March 2011. Glidewell ran unsuccessfully for City Council in November 2012. The following February, he was appointed to fill out the unfinished term of Councilman Jeff Griffiths, who left his seat to serve as newly elected Second District Inyo County Supervisor.
Councilman David Stottlemyre, re-elected in the November 2012 election, ran unopposed for the position of Inyo County Tax Assessor this past June. While he initially said he wanted to try to keep his City Council seat, Stottlemyre recently said heâ€™d be leaving the council once heâ€™s sworn in at the county in January. The remaining City Council will have to decide how to fill the vacancy â€“ whether by special election or appointment.
Also in Bishop, the Bishop Unified School District will have three, four-year terms opening up on its Board of Trustees. Those seats are currently occupied by Dr. Carl Lind, Tom Stephenson and Kathy Zack. Mono County residents will be able to vote on this race as well, since the BUSD overlaps with Mono County, according to Mono Clerk-Recorder Linda Romero.
Other overlapping districts include the Round Valley Joint Elementary School District, the Kern Community College District (which also includes Kern County) and the Inyo-Mono Resource Conservation District.
Thus, both Inyo and Mono residents will be voting on the following races, assuming enough candidates come forward to challenge the incumbents.
In Round Valley, two, four-year terms currently held by Howard Arcularius and Joe Griego will be coming up for election.
One seat on the Kern Community College Board of Directors currently held by Mark Storch is up for election.
Three, four-year terms on the Inyo-Mono Resource board held by Ron Yribarren, Richard Moss and Howard Arcularius will also become available.
Remaining seats up for election in Inyo County only include:
â€¢ Two, four-year terms on the Big Pine Unified School District Board of Trustees currently held by Wayne Hinkel and Marilyn Mann
â€¢ Three, four-year terms on the Death Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees currently held by Teresa Stevenson, Barbara Dawn Taylor and Debra Watterson
â€¢ Three, four-year terms on the Lone Pine Unified School District Board of Trustees currently held by Catherine George, Cheryl Howerton and Le Roy Kritz
â€¢ Three, four-year terms on the Owens Valley United School District Board of Trustees currently held by Cecil Faircloth, Betty Mull and Norman Wilder II
â€¢ Two, four-year terms on the Northern Inyo Hospital District Board of Directors: the Zone V seat currently occupied by MC Hubbard and the Zone III seat held by Pete Watercott
â€¢ One, two-year term in Zone V of the Southern Inyo Hospital District currently held by Carol Roster, and two, four-year terms currently held by Andrew Wickman in Zone II and Richard Gering in Zone IV
Residents wanting to run for any of the above offices may begin filing as candidates for these positions on Monday, July 14. The filing period runs through Aug. 8.
Forms are available at the County Elections Office in the courthouse in Independence and at the district and business offices of the various schools and hospitals.
For more information, call the Elections Office at (760) 878-0224.