Community Government

Turnout in 2023 election slightly higher in Gig Harbor than elsewhere in county

Posted on November 28th, 2023 By:

The 2023 election is officially over after the Pierce County certified the results of the Nov. 7 balloting on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Results posted on election night held up in the handful of Gig Harbor-area races, with late-arriving ballots not significantly impacting the margins of victory.

Local results

In the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District, voters rejected a levy lid lift measure and picked Billy Sehmel over Steven M. Nielsen for a board position.

In the city of Gig Harbor, voters returned Mary Barber to serve on the City Council instead of challenger Ed Nadler. Ben Coronado and incumbent Le Rodenberg, both unopposed, earned seats on to the council.

Peninsula School District voters re-elected Chuck West over Jack Mende, who scarcely ran a campaign, for a school board position. Natalie Wimberley and Lori Glover won re-election to the board.


Gig Harbor-area voters participated in the off-year election at a higher rate than Pierce County as a whole, according to data posted on the county election website.

Countywide, 30.36% of registered voters cast ballots this year on myriad local races and ballot measures. That’s low, but not the lowest in recent memory. In 2017, countywide turnout was just 28.56%.

In the city of Gig Harbor, 46% of registered voters cast ballots for City Council this year. Turnout in the PenMet Parks District was 42.58%. In Peninsula School District, it was 40.34%.

Statewide, voter turnout in the 2023 election was about 36.84%, according to the state Secretary of State’s office.

Odd vs. even years

A 1963 state law requires that city and local district elections be conducted in odd-numbered years. State and federal elections, which typically drive higher turnout, are conducted in even-numbered years. Most counties in Washington state, including Pierce, also conduct elections in even-numbered years.

According to a Seattle Times story, some legislators are backing a change to that 1963 law that would allow cities to switch their elections to even-numbered years.

Backers of the legislation say the change would lead to better participation in municipal elections. Opponents fear city elections would get lost amid the flood of federal, state and county elections.

The legislation did not get a vote before the full Senate in 2023, the Times reported.

The final numbers

Final local results for the 2023 elections:

Gig Harbor City Council

Position 4

Mary Barber: 2,250 votes, 55.3%

Ed Nadler: 1,813 votes, 44.56%

Write-in: 6 votes, 0.15%

Total votes: 4,069

Position 5

Ben Coronado: 3,010 votes, 97.73%

Write-in: 70 votes, 2.27%

Total votes: 3,080

Position 6

Le Rodenberg: 2,967 votes, 97.79%

Write-in: 67 votes, 2.21%

Total votes: 3,034

Peninsula School Board

Director District 1

Chuck West: 16,041 votes, 82.9%

Jack Mende: 3,183 votes, 16.45%

Write-in: 125 votes, 0.65%

Total votes: 19,349

Director District 3

Lori Glover: 15,297 votes, 98.48%

Write-in: 236 votes, 1.52%

Total votes: 15,533

Director District 4

Natalie Wimberley: 15,191 votes, 98.64%

Write-in: 210 votes, 1.36%

Total votes: 15,401

Peninsula Metropolitan Park District

Proposition 1/levy lid lift

Approved: 5,179 votes, 40.24%

Rejected: 7,690 votes, 59.76%

Total votes: 12,869

Commissioner Position No. 5

Billy Sehmel: 6,882 votes, 56.29%

Steven M. Nielsen: 5,288 votes, 43.26%

Write-in: 56 votes, 0.45%

Total votes: 12,225