Semiahmoo had largest turnout for bond vote

Published on Thu, May 5, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Of the eight voting precincts that comprise the Blaine school district, half approved the $32 million capital projects bond initiative with 60 percent of the vote or greater.

Data from the Whatcom County Auditor’s website show the precincts closest to the school district’s four buildings had the highest percentages of votes in favor of the bond. At 53.4 percent, voters in Point Roberts represented the lowest percentage of the eight precincts.

Precinct 301, which is bounded by the U.S./Canadian border to the north, H Street to the south and stretches east to about Valley View Road, approved the initiative by 66.3 percent, the highest percentage of the eight precincts. Downtown Blaine, stretching from Marine Drive to Hall Road to the south, approved the bond by 61.5 percent.

School district superintendent Ron Spanjer said district staff had not yet gotten a chance to look closely at the precinct data, but was glad to see each precinct was in favor of the bond by 50 percent or more. He said the precinct numbers will guide district staff on what follow-up questions to eventually ask the public about the bond.

Bond initiatives need a 60 percent supermajority to pass. District wide, the bond failed with 59.1 percent of the vote. A total of 4,516 voters returned ballots in the April 26 election: 2,666 for and 1,842 against. About 46 percent of the 9,727 registered voters in the school district sent in their ballots.

Voter turnout for each precinct hovered in the 44 to 46 percent range, with Point Roberts returning the least ballots of each precinct with 37.2 percent. The Semiahmoo area of Blaine had the highest voter turnout of all the precincts with 60 percent.
The Birch Bay area, stretching east to about Kickerville Road and south to Cherry Point, approved the bond by 57.1 percent. Precinct 103, which goes from Odell Street southeast to Giles Road and includes a portion of east Birch Bay, returned 60 percent of the vote in favor of the bond.

Spanjer said it was heartening to see that no district voted to reject the bond outright and that no precinct will present a substantive challenge when the district eventually goes out for a similar bond.

The timing of the next capital projects bond is yet to be determined. Though he has received feedback in support of another bond, Spanjer said he is wary of another bond too soon because of other districts’ poor voter returns.
Click here for PDF maps showing the eight election precincts in the Blaine School District.