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Fate of non-partisan

Come Tuesday, Nov. 5, Lake County voters will ultimately decide the fate of an ordinance that, if passed, would deem the Lake County Commissioner positions as non-partisan.

This year’s general election ballot features this ordinance as the sole piece of business for voters to either support or nix.

The proposed Ordinance No. 101 would “designate the office of Lake County Commissioner as nonpartisan within the meaning of ORS Chapter 249 and other Oregon election laws,” according to the draft document.

Earlier this year, a pair of public hearings were held in Lakeview as well as Fort Rock so that the public could comment on the issue.  In both cases, the county did not receive any opposition to the proposed ordinance.

Lake County Admin. Asst. Denise Thorsted noted that Lakeview citizen Frank Vaughn approached the commissioners earlier this year with a request for the change to non-partisan status.

The primary reason was to open up candidate opportunities to a broader range of prospects.

The commissioners held numerous discussions on the matter, ultimately deciding to present the issue before the voting public.

“They felt that decision (needed to be decided by) the citizens,” Thorsted said.

At present, commissioners Brad Winters and Ken Kestner serve as Republicans, while Dan Shoun was elected as a Democrat. The ordinance is the sole Lake County general election item this year.

Ballots must be returned to the Lake County Clerk’s Office no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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