Kaczaraba: It took an election for me to figure out I don’t live in Edmonds
Nov 1, 2023, 1:07 PM | Updated: 4:02 pm
Elections are a big deal in my house.
I’ve always been interested in politics. I was a political science major in college and the executive producer of Inside Politics on CNN.
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I sat down with my wife Tuesday night to fill out our election ballots. We had our voter pamphlets and our newspapers and also looked up the League of Women’s Voters Guide on the net.
I was excited to get to vote on Edmonds mayor because I had been seeing signs all over the neighborhood.
But it was not to be. No mayoral race on the ballot.
I thought, “Could this have been a misprint?” Immediately my journalist brain thought this could be a good story for MyNorthwest.
So I went to the Snohomish County Elections Board and emailed them about what gives and gave them my address.
They responded quickly with this note:
Thank you for contacting the Elections Division. Your address is outside of the city limits. To be eligible to vote on city candidates including the Mayor, you must live within the city limits. We have a map on our website that will show you the boundaries, here is the link: Snohomish County Elections District Finder (arcgis.com)
So apparently I live in a neighborhood called Esperance that is surrounded by Edmonds on all four sides. I knew I lived in the Esperance neighborhood, but I didn’t know that neighborhood wasn’t part of Edmonds.
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This isn’t unprecedented in Washington.
- Beaux Arts Village, Washington, is surrounded by Bellevue; though also has a coast on Lake Washington
- Ruston, Washington, is surrounded by Tacoma; though also has a coast on Commencement Bay
According to the internet: “Esperance is a census-designated place (CDP) in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. Esperance is an enclave of the city of Edmonds, Washington.”
Five times in the last 50 years, the City of Edmonds has looked at annexing Esperance into the city. In each case, voters in the enclave have rejected the annexation. Issues for annexation include a desire for a contiguous City of Edmonds, continuity of services and a belief that services will be easier to provide. Arguments against annexation include desire to remain part of unincorporated area of Snohomish County, an expectation that taxes may rise with annexation, and the desire to take part in activities that are possible in the county that would not be permitted under city regulations. The latter includes less regulation for building certain structures and the ability to keep animals.
Who knew? The next thing I’ll try to figure out is why I have an Edmonds mailing address. Stay tuned.
Bill Kaczaraba is a Digital Content Editor for MyNorthwest