County nixes commissioner vote due to bad ballots

June 4

The Hood River County Board Commission race between Maui Meyer and Bob Hastings has been nullified by the discovery that 200 ballots were cast erroneously.

New ballots will be sent to District 2 voters, though county officials have not determined the exact timetable.

On Friday, Dave Meriwether, county administrator, announced that a review of the May 18 primary election records had revealed the problem. He said voters outside District 2 were allowed to weigh in on the race between incumbent Hastings and Meyer.

According to Meriwether, the error was caused when the district number was inadvertently changed. He said that change apparently occurred when the properties were annexed into a city precinct and given the same number.

Since the commissioner race was close, with Meyer capturing the seat by 17 votes, Meriwether said the county had no choice but to decertify the election. He said it is unclear how many of the 200 ineligible ballots might have been returned but the number will most likely be higher than 17. The problem in the ballot count was discovered by Hastings while he was preparing for a recount.

“We do apologize to the people of Hood River County and the candidates, their families and their supporters. Unfortunately, human error exists in the world and this was one of those incidents,” said Meriwether, who has initiated a complete scrutiny of the county’s balloting system and election procedures.

County counsel Teunis Wyers will file in Circuit Court to have the election officially decertified next week. Meriwether said the registered voters of District 2 will then receive a new ballot in the mail as soon as another election date has been set.

“I am shocked, this is really unfortunate. Let’s just finish this up so we can concentrate on running the county instead of discussing issues,” Meyer said.

“It (discovery) was kind of an accident. We were just looking at the addresses on the county list of registered voters and one thing led to another,” said Hastings.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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