Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How to get to the Whatcom Conservation District on Tuesday, March 14th

If you are wondering how you are going to get from Bellingham to the Whatcom Conservation District on Tuesday, March 14th (between 9 AM and 6 PM)  so that you can vote for Whatcom Democrat candidate Heather Christianson, I have some screenshots with text for you below the break. But first some thoughts and advice.

This has always been a small rural election with relatively few people attending. The largest vote in recent history was probably 2015, where Larry Helm beat Joy Monjure with 'in-person' votes on election day. The total ballots were a little over 4000. This year there were over 4800 absentee ballots requested by the Februray 14th deadline alone! Democrats are promoting this election and our candidate Heather Christianson as part of our "contest every seat in the Trump era" imperative.  I am guessing 3  times the number of absentee ballots (15K) will show up at "Hinotes Corner" which is , just north of Hannegan and Pole Rd. But that is just my guess. Normally, I would predict much smaller numbers, but we don't live in "normal" political times. As Democrats, we see the election of Heather Christianson as our first chance to defeat Trumpublicans.  As a reminder, 115K voted in last fall's general election; 65K of those voted for Democrat Patty Murray.

At the end of this post are notes from Dawn Bekenyi of the  WCD detailing the election process. The process will involve the WCD matching you to your voter database information at Before you come to vote, I recommend logging on to to make sure:
  • your voter database information is correct
  • your residential and mailing address are current
  • and your voter "Status" is active.
Without all three of those requirements, you will not be able to vote. If you have any questions call, or email the WC Elections office.
If  you drivebusbiketaxiuber or even hike to the WCD Office, and you are having trouble finding parking and you are exhausted and stressed and you are wondering just who in their right mind would help promote an election site to this many people so far out in the county...well...I am probably that guy. Let me try to be helpful in advance:

Car Pooling

There will be car pooling initiated by the Democrats.  For now, please contact us by phone (647-7661) or email if you want to be a driver or need a ride and we will start a list. . Include your First and Last names, phone, email and whether you want to drive or need a ride. I will suggest the category "Event Listing" and the subject "WCD Election" . Watch this space for changes to this idea.

You are also free to organize your neighbors and fellow apartment dwellers into ad hoc car pools. Media outreach from the Democrats for this event is far and wide. There is a good chance that if you know Democrats, they know about this election. My advice: come early if you can. Maybe find a car pooler who can drop you off and come back because they voted by absentee ballot already.


Consult before you go. You can type traffic: Lynden Hannegan or just traffic: Bellingham and some useful information may be returned. You can drivebusbiketaxiuber or even hike there. There are a couple different routes you can take from Bellingham. Probably they will start with a trip up Guide Meridian. You can head east on E. Smith or Ten Mile or Pole Rd. The Whatcom Conservation District is at "Hinotes Corner" which is one large block north of Hannegan and Pole Rd. Click on the maps to enlarge:


If you get there by car, you would ideally want to park out front in Whatcom Conservation District parking lot (top of screen in picture below), however there is parking around in this general area. I am not advocating that you take up space at the Rusty Wagon, Two Sisters CoffeeMakeTakeBake, Modern Infusion Cuisine or even the Pole Road Water Association. But maybe you were headed there anyway? I mean, are you really going to drive all the way to Lynden without sampling the local cuisine? The coffee? Getting a great haircut? After standing in line to vote? There is also a Golf Course and Grill (Raspberry Ridge) literally just down the street.

Bus Service

If you are going by bus, you have some difficult choices. The 71x arrives four times each weekday at the corner of Hannegan and Pole. The 26  arrives at Meridian and Pole much more often, but it is about an hour walk from Meridian and and Pole Rd to the WCD office on Hannegan. Google shows that to be an 11 minute bike ride, but I notice that the official bike routes to the WCD office recommend you pick up Hannegan outside of Bellingham and ride it all the way there.

Uber or Cab

I am not an UBER or Taxi cab user. But perhaps you could find friends and travel for a discount.


Below ("Notes from Dawn Bekenyi") is a description of the election process from WCD election administrator Dawn Bekenyi.  Here are my thoughts on your VoterID  information found at 

If you have common FirstName +  LastName  combination ("Jennifer Wilson", "John Smith", "Robert Johnson") or if you are named 'paternally' (e.g  "John Jay Jackson Sr.","John Jay Jackson Jr.","John Jay Jackson III"), then your "BirthDate" is a useful determinant to help find your VoterID. Each of us has a unique RegistrationNumber that identifies us for the voter database. If this seems unusual to you,  remember that there currently are 7 different  voters named "John Smith" on the active voter roles right now living in 7 different precincts. I queried my last name to find that there are 16 status active voters with my last name living in 11 different precincts among the 135,856 souls with active status on the Whatcom County voter database. None of these do I know. 

So Toto: We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, anywhere. Especially not in a nation of 325 million people or a county like Whatcom of 215,000 give or take a few. We all need to be unique numbers so the database professionals that keep track of us en masse can tell us apart. If you have a voterid card it will help. If not, the WCD staff will figure you out.

Notes from Dawn Bekenyi:

1.  If an individual did not request their mail in ballot by the request deadline, the other option is to vote in person at our office on 6975 Hannegan Road,  Lynden.  There will be parking in the front of the building.  When you come in the office turn to the left.   We will have 5 polling officers to check voters against the County’s voter list and provide ballots for voting that day.
2.  People will be required to fill out a form asking for their name and address similar to the information that was provided when requesting a mail in ballot.  They will be required sign this form, which is the equivalent to the voter attestation statement on the return envelope for mail in voters.
3.   We are not required to ask for identification or voters registration cards.  However, if people want to bring them it could help (if they have a common name) to confirm that they are on the voter list.  (Bringing your voter’s cards is not necessary, but a good idea.)

There are many parking spaces outside of our building which will be available for voter parking.  Staff and District vehicles will be parked on the back and side of the building.  You can “Google map” the address to see the layout.

The day of the election - Voters will enter the front of the building, go to the door on the left hand side of the entryway.  There will be a line.  Voters are asked to complete and sign the Poll list form.  (see attached)  5 computer stations will be set up where the polling officers will review voter’s names against the County’s voter list.  Voters will then be given a ballot and directed to a small conference room to vote in privacy.  Dividers will be set up for privacy.  Voter will then drop their ballots into the sealed ballot boxes and exit. 

No electioneering is allowed within 300 feet of the polling site, so candidate bios, flyers, etc. will not be allowed at the office on the day of the election.  We will have oversight of the election from myself, a Board member and a representative from the Washington State Conservation Commission.

Dawn Bekenyi
Whatcom Conservation District
6975 Hannegan Road
Lynden, WA  98264

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