Voters in Stevens County District 5 have two candidates from which to choose in the Nov. 6 election.
Neil Wiese, who took second in the the primary will be on the ballot. James Solvie, who did not advance from the primary but registered as write-in candidate is also a declared candidate.
Deceased county commissioner Phil Gausman will be on the ballot. And there appears to be a campaign to have Gausman elected, based in part, on signs that have appeared on lawns in the district.
Here's what happens if voters elected a deceased commissioner. The county board must appoint a person to fill the vacancy to fill the remainder of the current term within 30 days of the election. So the board appoints a person to complete Gausman's term through 2018. Then, the board can appoint that person or another person to begin the next term until a special election is held.
If Gausman wins the election, a special election will still be needed which will cost money and time. Why would voters want another election?
Since two candidates have declared themselves for the race, the board should consider them as possible appointees if Gausman wins the election?
Unless Gausman wins overwhelmingly, such as two to one over the next top vote-getter, the board does not have a clear mandate that voters rejected either of the other two candidates. If Gausman receives 350 votes and Wiese or Solvie receive 330, how does the county board justify appointing a third person, who did not run in the primary or general election, to the county board?
And there is this question: Why would voters in District 5 go to the trouble of voting if only to give the decision back to the county commissioners?