Miller write-in campaign lands Ashland Parks and Rec seat

An Ashland businessman who ran an active write-in campaign will be the newest member of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission, Jackson County elections officials said Friday.

"Matthew Miller had 611 votes (for position 4)," said county Clerk Chris Walker, adding that none of the other candidates were very close. Results posted on the clerk's office website Wednesday showed a total of 1,536 write-in votes.

Miller, an assistant swim coach for Ashland High School who runs an online business selling Venus flytraps, had campaigned mostly on bringing more aquatics programs to the city, as well as restoring historic features of Lithia Park.

"There's kind of an aquatics crisis in Southern Oregon," Walker told the Daily Tidings in October. "The only pool open year round is the Southern Oregon University Pool, and that may be going away."

The parks commission race ended up being write-in-only after no candidates filed by the deadline.

Miller's main competition came from parent and school volunteer Katy Repp, who threw her hat into the ring a few days after Miller. Walker said she didn't have the certified vote totals for each write-in candidate on hand Friday, as the results had just been certified.  

"If they write a name but we don't see a dot, we enhance it (to determine the voter's intent)," she said. "Keep in mind that if they put a dot there, but don't write anything, we don't count it." Instead, that vote goes towards the "undervote" — the number of votes cast for less than the minimum number of candidates in a race. Walker said the complete numbers would be posted online at a later time.

The parks commission oversees an approximately $16 million budget for 2013-2015, and the department is budgeted for total of 44 full-time employees.

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471, or by email at tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.

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