Some council candidates vote more than others

They want your vote, but have they been casting theirs?
By Nicholas Johnson | Jul 12, 2017

Candidates for Mukilteo City Council are counting on voters to turn in their ballots come Aug. 1. But have those candidates been turning out to vote in elections themselves?

The Mukilteo Beacon reviewed public voter records for all 10 candidates seeking a seat on the City Council in this year’s primary election. Specifically, the Beacon looked at whether candidates voted in the five general elections and five primary elections over the past five years.

In the cases of Position 3 candidates Tony Markey and Sarah Kneller, the Beacon obtained fewer records due to their more recent voter registrations of July 2013 and May 2014, respectively.

Those with the most consistent voting records include Position 2 candidates Bob Champion (9/10) and Peter Zieve (10/10), as well as Position 1 candidate Riaz Khan (8/10).

Not far behind are Position 3 candidates Tony Markey (6/9) and Troy Gray (6/10). Fellow Position 3 candidates Sarah Kneller (2/7) and Maxwell Chen (1/10) show less consistency.

Position 1 candidates Anna Rohrbough (3/10) and James Yoo (1/10) also show less consistency, as does Position 2 candidate Tina Over (1/10).

Neither Chen nor Rohrbough could be reached for comment, though candidates Kneller, Yoo and Over did respond.

Kneller voted in the 2016 presidential primary in May and general election in November, but missed primary and general elections in 2014 and 2015.

She said she didn’t register to vote in Snohomish County until moving to Mukilteo from Edmonds in 2014, but prior to that she said she and her husband had being moving around for work.

Upon moving back into the country from New Zealand in 2010, Kneller said she jumped from Whidbey Island to Mukilteo to Edmonds and back to Mukilteo. She said she could not recall for sure whether she voted in the 2012 and 2013 general elections, but said, “I’m positive that we dropped ballots in mail.”

Over, who registered in Snohomish County in October 2016, cast ballots in the 2016 and 2012 presidential elections, according to King County records. She missed the rest.

Over, 33, said prior to registering here, she was registered at her parents’ home address in Kent. She said that after moving to Mukilteo five years ago she did not visit her parents often enough to catch ballots in time to vote.

“I have voted in all presidential elections since I was 18,” she said.

Over said that during her 20s she was battling cancer and focusing on her career.

“I didn’t start getting into city politics until later,” she said. “I think there’s a point in time in everyone’s life when your priorities change. My priorities have changed in the last few years as I’ve been raising my son. Once I started seeing what was going on in the schools and the community, I felt there was a need for change.”

Yoo, who moved to Mukilteo about nine years ago but didn’t register until May, said he forgot to register as he was focused on developing his scrap metal recycling business, Ace Metal Company. According to King County records, he last voted in the 2012 presidential election.

“I didn’t pay much attention to politics before,” Yoo said, noting that he hasn’t been impressed with Republicans or Democrats nationally. “I am non partisan.”

Ballots for this year’s primary election are expected to arrive in mailboxes by the end of this week. Voters must turn them in to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office by 8 p.m. Aug. 1.

Typically, voter participation in Snohomish County’s primary elections amounts to less than a third of registered voters, whereas participation in general elections fares better.

Roughly 80 percent of registered voters turned out in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, whereas 2015 saw 35 percent, 2014 saw 51 percent, and 2013 saw 41.5 percent.

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