VANCOUVER, Wash. — It is a busy ballot for November 2021, an off-year election to decide school boards and city councils in a number of places in Clark County.
Proposition 10 increases funding for juvenile detention facilities and jails in Clark County, to allow county funds currently spent on detention facilities and jails to be repurposed for body-worn cameras for sheriff's deputies.
Deputies have been involved in several high-profile, deadly incidents. The sheriff, county prosecutor and the county council all support body cams to increase transparency and accountability of all involved.
If approved, Proposition 10 would create a new 0.1% sales tax, or $.10 for every $100 spent. The tax would fund juvenile detention facilities and jails in Clark County. The tax would take effect April 1, 2022 and last for 10 years, through March 31, 2032.
Supporters say it would free up general funds to pay for body cameras for county deputies and any associated operational expenses. Opponents say it won't fund dashboard cams and argue it's not the right way to pay for body cams.
Vancouver is already planning to launch its own body camera program for the city's police officers next year. That would be separate from the sheriff's deputies program.
Vancouver is also electing a mayor in this November ballot.
KGW News talked to both candidates, to get their closing pitch to voters.
Incumbent Anne-McEnerny-Ogle was by far the top vote-getter in the May primary. She cites her four decades of public service as the type of experience people in Vancouver want.
“For the last 41 years I've been working in this community to keep it safe and welcoming and prosperous and vibrant,” said McEnerny-Ogle.
Challenger Earl Bowerman has one thing on his mind: hiring more police officers. He wants to improve what he sees as a public safety problem.
"I’m hands-on oriented, results-oriented and I think public safety is the number one priority and dealing with people who cause problems, in terms of not being able to walk Downtown at night or in the afternoon, and people that cause fear when you’re around them. I think we need to take a close look at our budget and prioritize what's important,” said Bowerman.
McEnerny-Ogle points to progress as mayor, in public safety and other areas. Despite a pandemic, the mayor said she is working to improve Vancouver.
“We're in the middle of some incredible work, we're doing lots of things with our community our citizens, residents, businesses… and I’d be honored to accept a job renewal, to continue to work with our community and continuing to make us vibrant and safe.”
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To the election itself, like the May primary, there is extra scrutiny coming from observers, most from the county's Republican party.
The auditor who oversees elections said they appreciate the interest in the process, as the ballots come in across the county, and they carry out a fair election.
To have your vote count, ballots must be dropped on in ballot boxes or at the election office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2. If you still want to mail your ballot, you must be sure it has a postmark of November 2, or earlier. Click here for more Clark County voter information.
Editor's note: a correction was made in the information regarding Proposition 10 to clarify the language in the measure.