Tuesday’s primary election is rapidly approaching. Pull out that mail-in ballot and cast your vote for state and federal candidates if you haven’t yet done so.
Turnout in Washington’s midsummer primary is often low — 54.4% in the last federal/state primary in 2020, a presidential-election year, and 40.8% in 2018, which is more comparable to this year.
Nevertheless, the primary is an important stop on the road to November’s general election. Primary voters set which two candidates will appear on the November ballot. Those who don’t vote now miss a chance to help winnow the field and ensure their preferred candidates make it through.
At the end of Monday, Snohomish County elections officials had received about 43,000 of the 519,000 ballots they mailed to voters — or only 8.3%. The King County elections office had received about 128,000 of a possible 1,394,242 ballots, representing about 9%. Based on historical trends, Snohomish and King County election officials predict about 35% and 45% of eligible voters, respectively, will cast a primary ballot.
Surely, voters, we can do better than that.
With so many challenges ahead, including recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that radically redefined rights many had considered settled, every Washingtonian should be clamoring to make their voices heard.
Democrats are hoping to hold a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and make gains in the Senate. In Olympia, the lawmakers we elect will weigh important policy decisions on everything from public safety and public school funding, housing and affordability, natural resources and taxation.
For the first time this year, 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the Nov. 8 general election can cast a vote in the primary. Anyone who has not yet registered to vote can do so at their county election office, accessible voting site or vote center until 8 p.m. on Aug. 2. Local elections officials urge voters to avoid the last-minute rush by voting early. If you do wait, they recommend using a ballot drop box rather than the U.S. mail.
The Times editorial board has vetted candidates and made recommendations for U.S. Congress and key legislative races. Regardless of who you vote for, be sure to vote.