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Despite more registered voters, election turnout down

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Races for school district, Port of St. Helens, CRFR and 911 boards see little voter enthusiasm

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - A young girl leans out the passenger side window of a car Tuesday evening to drop her mother's ballot off at a drive-through drop box in the Columbia County Courthouse parking lot. Voters had until 8 p.m. Tuesday to submit ballots to the county elections office.With a record high 35,025 eligible voters in Columbia County, thanks to Oregon's motor voter law, the turnout for the May 16 special election resulted in a 26 percent participation rate Tuesday, with 9,014 ballots being accepted by elections officials.

Despite more registered voters this year, the special election didn't draw as many voters as last year's spring primary election, which yielded a 52 percent voter turnout in Columbia County, or the 2013 spring special election, which yielded 9,760 voters and 34 percent voter turnout, county records show.

Ballots for this year's special election were mailed to voters April 26, with a mail-in deadline of May 11. Those turning in ballots at drop sites throughout the county had until 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, to cast their votes. By Tuesday afternoon, more than 22 percent of voters had already cast their ballots.

Ballot return records show the county received nearly 1,070 ballots on May 3 alone.

In this year's special election, various candidates faced off for board positions with special districts, school districts, the Port of St. Helens and fire districts throughout the county.

See right for the results of notable contested races in south Columbia County.

Scappoose School District

Zone 3

Lisa Maloney — 1,143 votes; 44 percent

Mike Bradley — 893 votes; 34 percent

Christine Prockish — 475 votes, 18 percent

Curt Francis — 83 votes; 3 percent

Zone 4

Philip Lager — 1,280 votes; 55 percent

Donny Leader — 1,031 votes; 44 percent

Zone 5

Tim Brooks — 1,298 votes; 53 percent

Joe Lewis — 1,157 votes, 47 percent

Columbia 911 Communications District

Zone 5

Robert Anderson — 1,015 votes; 66 percent

Tyler Miller — 516 votes; 33 percent

Columbia River Fire and Rescue

Position 5

Gary Hudson — 1,912 votes; 52 percent

Ronda Melton — 1,151 votes; 31 percent

Kimberly McLane — 575 votes; 16 percent

Write-in — 23 votes; 1 percent

Columbia River People's Utility District Annexation

Approved — 66 votes "yes," 2 votes "no"; 97 percent

Port of St. Helens

Position 4

Robert Keyser — 2,725 votes; 43 percent

Melinda Bernert — 2,602 votes; 41 percent

Natasha Parvey-Leskowich — 987; 16 percent

Write-in — 41 votes; 1 percent

Position 5

Chris Iverson - 3,452 votes; 53 percent

Megan Kunkel-Hallstone - 2,136; 33 percent

Brady Preheim - 928 votes; 14 percent