Most people who filed for Whatcom County’s November school board elections have yet to file with the state Public Disclosure Commission, making them out of compliance with state election laws.
By law, almost all candidates for elected positions must file with the PDC within two weeks of declaring their candidacy. School board candidates, even if they are running unopposed, fall into the category of people that must file with the PDC.
This means that anyone who filed for office on or before June 8 and hasn’t registered with the PDC is technically breaking election laws. According to the Whatcom County Auditor’s website, 20 candidates filed for school board positions by June 8; of those candidates, four have registered with the PDC. An additional five candidates registered between June 9 and 10, and one of those candidates has filed with the PDC.
According to the PDC website, as of Thursday morning, June 23, the five school board candidates who have registered their campaigns are: Bellingham candidate Ken Gass (incumbent), Ferndale candidates Jeff Marks and Stuart McKay (incumbent), Lynden candidate Kevin Burke, and Meridian candidate John Bosche. (note, there may be a delay between when paperwork is filed and when it is available on the PDC site).
For the most part, school board candidates only need to register their campaigns (which means filing out the C1 form). People running for offices that garner a lot of campaign contributions must also file paperwork about expenditures and contributions. To see the breakdown of who has to do what, click here.
According to Lori Anderson at the PDC, they are already working to contact candidates who have not submitted their paperwork.
“After two weeks and a short grace period goes by, we’ll contact the candidates once again and give them a ‘drop dead’ filing date,” she wrote in an email.
Candidates who don’t file by their “drop dead” date will get a hearing notice; cases that go to a hearing could face penalties of up to $150.