By BRIAN WALKER
COEUR d'ALENE — In a local election plagued by low voter turnout, incumbents retained their seats in several races on Tuesday.
Overall voter turnout was just 5.7 percent. A total of 4,323 voters cast a ballot out of 76,096 registered voters, the Kootenai County Elections Office reported.
Two years ago, a May election drew 8 percent voter turnout.
"The overall turnout tonight was very, very low," said Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon, just before the final results were tallied. "It was disappointing, but not surprising."
Brannon said some precincts hadn't had a voter drop by their polls during the first two hours of voting on Tuesday.
He said that while boards representing taxing agencies such as the highway, hospital and library districts are critical to the community, they generally are not as hotly contested as municipal and other races.
"They tend to be more laid back," he said.
One of the exceptions on voter turnout was in Bayview, where the Water and Sewer Board had two openings for directors.
"Big turnout in Bayview," Brannon said. "We had to make a second trip to Bayview just to make sure they had enough ballots. A few years ago, there were some changes and there's been a lot of interest ever since."
Robyn Edwards had 86 votes (58.1 percent) for the Director 1 seat on the water board to defeat Norma Jean Knowles' 62 votes.
In the race for the Director 2 seat, Richard Doney had 94 votes (63.5 percent) to beat George "Chris" Gormsen with 54 votes.
Here's how the other races fared:
• Kootenai Hospital District — Teri Farr and Thomas deTar won the two seats with 2,425 votes (37.6 percent) and 1,707 (26.4 percent) respectively. Randil Clark had 1,228 votes, while Richard Barclay had 1,096.
• Consolidated Free Library — Challenger Robert Fish, who had 1,170 votes (51.3 percent) edged Carl Gidlund with 1,110 for the four-year seat. In the race for the two six-year seats, incumbents Judith Centa Meyer, who had 1,678 votes (43 percent), and Regina McCrea, 1,364 votes (35 percent) were re-elected. Challenger Jason Ball had 860 votes. The board represents the Community Library Network, which has libraries in Post Falls, Hayden, Athol, Spirit Lake, Rathdrum, Harrison and Pinehurst and a bookmobile. The Coeur d'Alene Library is a part of the city of Coeur d'Alene and not a part of the CLN.
• Post Falls School Board — In the race for Zone 5, which includes the Pine Villa, Riverside Harbor and Highlands neighborhoods, incumbent Carol Goodman retained her seat with 166 votes (86.9 percent). She was opposed by write-in candidate Gary Nystrom.
• Lakes Highway District — Incumbent Rod Twete had 1,235 votes (57.7 percent) to survive a challenge for his Sub-District 1 seat by Lorin Scarcello, who had 904.
• East Side Highway District — Challenger John Austin had 212 votes (37.3 percent) to win the Sub-District 2 seat. Incumbent Terry Sverdsten was second with 184 votes and Mark Thyr third with 172.
• Post Falls Highway District — Sub-District 2 incumbent Todd Tondee retained his seat with 525 votes (58.7 percent) to defeat Robert Balser, who had 369 votes. Terry Werner was not challenged for his Sub-District 1 seat and received 797 votes.
• Worley Highway District — Corinne Johnson had 184 votes (58.4 percent) to win the Sub-District 2 seat over David Johnson, who finished with 131 votes.