The Washington State Constitution mandates that the Board of County Commissioners create the nomination procedures for electing freeholders. The Commissioners have decided that candidates for the 15 freeholder positions will file by sub-district within the three Commissioner Districts. Candidate filing for freeholder positions was held during the normal candidate filing week - May 14th through May 18th.
Q: What are freeholders?
A: The November ballot will include a question asking voters whether they would like to pursue the charter county process. The ballot will also include candidates for freeholder positions. If voters approve pursuing the charter county process, 15 freeholders will be elected to draft the charter. If voters do not approve pursuing the charter county process, freeholders are not elected.
Q: What is the Charter County form of government?
A: The Washington State Constitution was amended in 1948 allowing the option for counties to adopt home rule charters to create their own form of government. Home rule charters do not change the role or authority of the county, but do allow counties to create a government structure different than the commission form. Among other things possible, county charters can change elected county officials to appointed county officers. They can also change the names and duties of the county officers. Charters can not change the status or duties of the Prosecuting Attorney or judges.
Q: Do freeholders get paid?
A: Freeholders are elected officials but they do not receive compensation other than mileage reimbursement.
Q: What are the requirements to be a freeholder?
A: Freeholders must be at least 18 years of age, have been residents of the county for at least five years preceeding their election, and be lawfully registered to vote in the sub-district they are seeking.
Q: What is the term length for freeholders?
A: The Constitution does not state a term for freeholders. The freeholders serve until they have completed the task of drafting a charter. The charter then goes before the voters to approve or reject. Our website shows a term of 6 years, but that is simply a placeholder for the computer system.
Q: What is the filing fee for freeholders?
A: The Board of County Commissioners set the filing fee at $50.00. Candidates who are indigent may sign a filing fee waiver under penalty of perjury in person at the Auditor's Office.
Q: How do I determine which sub-district I am eligible to file in?
A: The sub-districts were created using existing precinct lines. If you login to Http://myvote.wa.gov and select "Voter Registration Details" on the right side, it will tell you which precinct you reside in. You can then find your precinct within the sub-district by clicking here.
Q: Will freeholders appear on the August Primary ballot or will they only appear on the November General Election ballot?
A: The Washington State Constitution states that freeholders will only appear on the November General Election ballot. They will not be on the August Primary ballot.