It's election season in King County, although you can’t be blamed if you didn’t know it was already time to vote again. The county’s conservation district is holding an election for their board of supervisors but they don’t seem too interested in telling you about it.
The public agency with a budget of about $7 million won’t be mailing ballots to voters. They don’t appear to have spent any time or effort publicizing the election beyond a blog post on their website, and they were unable to respond to nearly a week of interview requests from me asking questions about this public election.
The election for one of the three supervisors on the public board begins on Monday, March 18, and runs through Friday, March 29, according to that blog post. People who miraculously find out about this somewhat shrouded election need to request a ballot through either an online portal or over the phone to vote. Or people can go vote in person at the conservation district’s office in Renton during the voting period. There are six people running for the position on the conservation district’s board.
The King Conservation District is a public body created by state law that works on everything from testing soil quality to educating landowners and other state agencies to providing technical assistance on land management practices. The district describes its mission as promoting “the sustainable use of natural resources through responsible stewardship.” The board is funded by a per-property assessment fee paid by landowners in most of King County’s municipalities and all of the unincorporated areas of the county. The fee ranges from $7.70 to $10 per property per year, according to the board’s 2017 annual report. The board operated on a $6.8 million budget in 2017, according to the last annual report published on their website.
The board does not write laws or create new regulations, instead using its public funding to work on a voluntary basis with stakeholders to address conservation needs in the county.
I reached out last week to learn more about this election but I have yet to get any on-the-record information from the staff of the district. A very friendly administrative assistant told me on Monday that the board's email was not working but that they would pass on my request to the management of the board. I have still not heard anything back after subsequent emails and calls.
Did the conservation district publicize this election anywhere other than their blog? Is there a reason they couldn’t have put the election on the recent special election ballot that was sent to voters in King County in February? I’ll update this post if I hear anything back from the conservation district's staff.