Published on Thu, Nov 3, 2005
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Nelson prevails

The Whatcom County Canvassing Board has ruled that Blaine native Don Nelson may continue to vote in Blaine, following a review last week of a citizen complaint filed by Caryn Johnson, also a Blaine area resident.

Johnson testified in writing that 925 Ludwick Avenue is Nelson’s primary business address, as opposed to his residence. “Over several years Ms. Johnson has observed on many occasions no activity after hours at the Ludwick Avenue address and that Don and Shirley Nelson have a residential listing of 1929 Lake Whatcom Boulevard,” the canvassing board stated in a letter.

But Nelson responded with a letter saying that since 925 Ludwick is the only mailing address he has, that’s what he also uses for his voter registration. He said he spends more time there than in Bellingham and that he has furnished the space with a shower and cooking facilities and intends to finish building a roughed-in apartment which will eventually become his only residence.

The burden of proof when a voter’s credentials are challenged lies with the person making the challenge. In this case the board ruled that “...the challenger has not met her burden, the challenge is not sustained, and the voter registration for this address shall remain.” The decision was outlined in a letter mailed out to Johnson and Nelson following last Thursday’s hearing.

The canvassing board for this hearing was convened by Whatcom County auditor Shirley Forslof and also included civil deputy prosecuting attorney Royce Buckingham and Whatcom County council member Sam Crawford.