Bainbridge Island Incorporation -- Bainbridge Apparently Oks Annexation Into Winslow

In an election that splintered a normally peaceful community, Bainbridge Island residents apparently have approved annexation of the island into the city of Winslow.

The campaign, which featured predictions of doom and scattered threats of violence, seemed to split Bainbridge residents down the middle. With all but absentee ballots counted, about 51 percent approved the annexation.

In order for that lead to be overturned, uncounted absentee ballots would have to run almost 3-1 against the annexation. Kitsap County election officials considered that highly unlikely.

The 8,157 island residents living in the unincorporated area of the 32-square-mile island were eligible to vote in the election. Actual turnout was slightly over 71.5 percent of those eligible, demonstrating the intensity of the issue.

Proponents said annexation into the city of Winslow would give islanders greater control over growth and real-estate development, more responsive law enforcement and more effective use of tax revenues.

Opponents argued that taxes would increase under annexation, that the Winslow city government was incapable of governing the entire island, and that the proponents of annexation were wealthy elitists interested primarily in keeping low- and middle-income residents off the island.