Article 4 Elections

Section 4.10 Election Procedures.

Except as provided in this Article, the nominating primaries and elections of the Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer and Sheriff shall be conducted in accordance with general law governing the election of non-partisan County officers.

Nominating primaries and elections of the County Council and Executive shall be conducted in accordance with general law governing the election of non-partisan County offices. (Amended by referendum 1986; Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).

Section 4.20 Qualifications.

Each County officer holding an elective office shall be, at the time of appointment or election and at all times while holding office, a citizen of the United States and a resident and registered voter of Whatcom County and councilmembers shall be residents of the districts which they represent. Any change in the boundaries of the councilmember’s district which shall cause that member to be no longer a resident of the district which that councilmember represents shall not disqualify that councilmember from holding office during the remainder of the term for which that councilmember was elected or appointed. (Amended by referendum 1986; Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A; Amended by Ord. 2019-058 Exh. A).

Section 4.30 Conflict of Interest.

The County Council, Executive, Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney shall hold no other office or employment within County government. (Amended by referendum 1986; Amended by Ord. 93-046 (part)).

Section 4.40 District Boundaries.

The boundaries of each district shall correspond as nearly as practical with the boundaries of election precincts and shall be drawn to produce districts with compact and contiguous territory, composed of geographic units which are approximately equal in population.

Section 4.41 Districting Committee.

During the month of January, 1981, and by January 31 of each tenth year thereafter, a five-member Districting Committee shall be appointed. The County Council shall appoint four persons to the committee, two from each major political party, the four to appoint the fifth who shall be the Chairman. The Districting Committee shall within thirty (30) days of its appointment meet and appoint a Districting Master who shall be qualified by education, training and experience to draw a districting plan. If the Districting Committee is unable to agree upon the appointment of a Districting Master within thirty (30) days, the County Council shall appoint a Districting Master by March 31 of that year.

Section 4.42 Districting Plan.

The Districting Master shall draw a districting plan for the county which shall be submitted by May 1 of the same year to the Districting Committee for adoption with or without amendment. The Districting Committee shall adopt the districting plan within fifteen (15) days. Upon adoption, the districting plan shall be filed with the County Auditor by the Districting Committee. The plan shall become effective upon filing.

Section 4.50 Vacancies.

An elective office shall become vacant on the death, resignation, recall of the officer; a councilmember’s absence from three (3) consecutive regular meetings of the County Council, without being excused by the Council; any elected official’s absence from the County for thirty (30) days without being excused by the Council, or for other causes. The vacancy shall be filled by the Council as it deems appropriate.

Vacancies in elective office shall be filled at the next November general election, unless the vacancy occurs after the last day for filing declarations of candidacy, in which case the vacancy shall be filled at the next succeeding November general election. The person elected shall take office upon certification of the results of the election and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacated office. Until a successor has been elected and certified, a majority of the Council shall fill the vacancy by appointment. All persons appointed to fill vacancies shall meet the qualifications of Section 4.20. (Amended by referendum 1986; Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A; Amended by referendum 2005).

Section 4.60 Commencement of Terms of Office.

The election of County officers provided for in this Charter shall be held on odd-numbered years as provided by general law and the provisions of this Charter. The term of office of elected County officers shall commence on the second Monday of the next January immediately following the November general election. (Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).