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Complete coverage of the 2021 primary in Seattle, King County and Washington state

Editor’s note: This is a live account of the primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent local politics news.

The direction for Seattle’s future political leadership began to take shape Tuesday as ballots were tallied in the Aug. 3 primary for the Seattle mayor’s race, as well as contests for the city attorney and two citywide City Council seats.

There are a dozen city council races on the Eastside. In Bellevue, 27-year-incumbent Conrad Lee faces three first-time candidates who have stressed they believe it’s time for a change on the council.

With the region’s homelessness crisis and housing costs at the top of many voters’ minds, today’s vote counts will begin to winnow the candidate field and determine who advances to the November general election.

Results began to pour in just after 8 p.m. See the results below.

6 takeaways from early results — Seattle City Attorney in big trouble, Mayor's race takes shape

General election matchups are starting to take shape as vote tallies in the Aug. 3 primary showed which candidates have momentum in key contests. Here are some top takeaways from the Tuesday ballot counts:

▪ In the marquee race for Seattle Mayor, former City Council President Bruce Harrell appears headed for a November matchup with current Council President M. Lorena González. Harrell led a 15-candidate field with 38% of the vote, while Gonzalez took close to 29%. The next-closest contender, Colleen Echohawk, was a distant third at 8%.

▪ Three-term Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes is in deep trouble, as challengers to his right and left ran strong. In Tuesday night returns, challenger Ann Davison, a Republican who accuses Holmes of being soft on street crime, led with nearly 35% of the vote. Holmes was in second place — barely — with nearly 33%. Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, a former public defender who favors halting most prosecutions, was at 32%.

▪ In races for two citywide Seattle council positions, incumbent Teresa Mosqueda looked solid with 55% of the vote versus a field of little known and poorly financed challengers. In the race for an open council position vacated by González, a tighter contest was forming between brewery owner Sara Nelson and attorney Nikkita Oliver, with 42% and 35% of Tuesday’s results, respectively, leaving González's aide Brianna Thomas trailing in third place.

▪ A massive levy aimed at helping youth appeared headed for passage. About 59% of voters were approving King County's Best Starts for Kids measure, which would collect $872 million over six years to be spent on a range of child care, youth criminal justice and early childhood programs. The support comes despite mixed results in the previous round of spending.

▪ King County Executive Dow Constantine looked to be in solid position in his reelection bid, leading fellow Democratic challenger, state Sen. Joe Nguyen. Constantine took 53% of the vote count Tuesday night, compared with 30% for Nguyen. In Metropolitan King County Council races, incumbents Reagan Dunn and Pete von Reichbauer had sizeable leads against primary challengers, but 20-year incumbent Kathy Lambert was in more jeopardy, taking 41% of the Tuesday vote totals, while Democratic challengers Sarah Perry and Joe Cohen took 34% and 24%, respectively.

▪ Plenty more votes remain to be counted in the coming days. On Tuesday, King County Elections tallied about 242,000 votes out of 1.4 million registered voters. Officials have predicted turnout of about 40% or just below that, meaning perhaps 300,000 votes have yet to be counted.

—Jim Brunner

Westneat: Seattle angry? Nah, say city voters

A few weeks ago, one of the campaigns for Seattle mayor released some background polling on the general mood of Seattle’s voters.

“I’ve been fielding and reading polls for 30 years and I’ve never seen people this pissed,” one of the consultants, for candidate Colleen Echohawk, summed up.

This was a popular assumption — that after a year of protests and riots, pandemic shutdown and boarded-up downtown, voters here and around the region were hacked off and ready to rumble to the polls for change.

Not so much, it turns out.

In the initial returns of the primary election Tuesday, most incumbents, including those attached to the supposedly unpopular Seattle City Council, seemed to be doing just fine.

Read Westneat's full column.

—Columnist Danny Westneat

M. Lorena González poised to advance: 'I am ready to be that leader'

M. Lorena González, candidate for Seattle mayor, is overcome with emotion as she meets with supporters after hearing she is in second place, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

In a triumphant speech following Tuesday's ballot counts in the Seattle mayoral primary election, City Council President M. Lorena González told a crowd of cheering supporters she is feeling "very, very, very confident" that she'll move on to the November general election.

González walked past the vats at Jellyfish Brewing Company in Georgetown to greet about 80 supporters who waved signs, and chanted “Lo-re-na!” She unfolded paper notes, but barely needed them while speaking about her struggles growing up on Yakima Valley farms, and her determination to help people who struggle in Seattle today.

“Seattle voters tonight are sending a very powerful message,” she said at full volume. “An overwhelming number of the voters counted tonight said, 'no, no!' to status quo, corporate backed candidates.”

In Tuesday's counts, González garnered 28.6% of the vote, a tally that trailed only former City Councilmember Bruce Harrell's 38.2%. González held a comfortable lead Tuesday over Colleen Echohawk, who was running a distant third with 8.3%.

González, a two-term council member, said her take-away from voters Tuesday was that "they want bold, decisive, progressive action from their leaders."

"And I am ready to be that leader," she added.

A key to the fall campaign, she said later, will be to bring together voters who chose progressive candidates, and groups who haven’t endorsed her before, into a coalition.

González said her life story will remain a part of her campaign, even in a two-person race, because it’s core how she performs in office.

“For me, I have led with my values first and foremost. My values have always been about championing progressive causes and policies in this city. And Bruce has not led on those issues.”

Her speech ended with shoutouts to labor unions, and a rally chant, “When we fight, we win.” A supporter in the back jumped for joy a few times as the crowd cheered.

In the area of transportation, she’s talked about a walkable “15-minute city” where people in all neighborhoods can reach services easily without driving. That’s essential in times of climate change, she said. 

Related to that, she said that under Seattle’s “urban villages” land-use model, created under former Mayor Norm Rice three decades ago to focus growth into neighborhood hubs, the effects of redlining and racial disparities still linger, as described in a recent city report.

“I think really if we are serious about erasing racial inequities in our housing policies, then we need to ensure — we should abolish all forms of single-family zoning,” González said.

—Mike Lindblom and Lewis Kamb

'People are tired of this fighting': Bruce Harrell welcomes lead in Seattle mayoral primary

Surrounded by a group of cheering family and friends at the BluWater Bistro in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood, Bruce Harrell welcomed the news of his lead in the mayor's race without much expression — as if expecting such promising results.

Harrell, the former Seattle City Council president, took 38% in Tuesday's vote count. That put him well ahead of second-place finisher M. Lorena González, who took about 29% — but tens of thousands of votes remain to be counted in the coming days.

“The city wants a leader of action,” Harrell said, promising to address homelessness, change the culture of the police department and support small businesses, what he called the “backbone” of society.

“People are tired of this fighting in Seattle,” said Harrell. “The city is expecting me to come up with new solutions.”

Ahead of the announcement of results, a sprinkling of rain had sent some Harrell supporters seeking cover beneath awnings at the bistro.

But Harrell’s sizable lead lifted the mood. Supporters chanted: “Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!” as he left the microphone, all smiles.

Many of Harrell’s supporters said they had known him since their teenage years, during shared time at the University of Washington or through community events.

“He’s been a big supporter of the community since I was a kid,” said Kateesha Atterberry, a third generation Seattleite. “I need somebody with a track record.”

—Evan Bush

King County Council incumbents Reagan Dunn, Kathy Lambert, Pete von Reichbauer lead primary challengers

Three long-serving conservative incumbents on the Metropolitan King County Council look poised to make it to the Nov. 2 general election, as each one, facing multiple progressive challengers, led their primary contests Tuesday night.

Councilmembers Pete von Reichbauer, Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn each led in their district, but Lambert, in particular, could be looking at a challenging general election, at least based on Tuesday night’s results.

The elections have the potential to remake the nine-member nonpartisan County Council. Von Reichbauer, Lambert and Dunn represent the council’s conservative bloc. All three have previously been elected as Republicans, but the county, even in its more rural districts, continues to shift Democratic, at least in national and state-level elections.

And all of the serious challengers to the three incumbents are liberal or progressive and would move the County Council further left.

Full story here.

—Joseph O'Sullivan and David Gutman

Three-term incumbent Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes in tight race with challengers Ann Davison, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy

In a tight race for Seattle city attorney Tuesday, just over 2,000 votes separated incumbent Pete Holmes from challengers Ann Davison and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in early returns.

The top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the general election on Nov. 2 for the nonpartisan position, which represents the city in lawsuits and prosecutes misdemeanors.

On Tuesday night, Davison received 34.6% of votes — 29,401 — in the early count, while Holmes followed with 32.8% — 27,844, and Thomas-Kennedy garnered 32.2%, or 27,288 votes.

Holmes has been in office for 12 years and is currently serving his third term as the city attorney. His opponents criticized his record as the city's chief prosecutor from divergent angles — with Davison arguing he wasn't tough enough on crime and Thomas-Kennedy favoring an end to most prosecutions.

Full story here.

—Elise Takahama

Incumbent Conrad Lee and Dexter Borbe leads in Bellevue City Council race, and other Eastside primary election results

Conrad Lee and Dexter Borbe were leading in Tuesday night’s primary election vote count for the Bellevue City Council Position 2 seat, a race that was among the most expensive local contests outside Seattle.

Lee, the 27-year incumbent, had 57% of the vote and Borbe had 27%. The other two challengers, Christie Sanam Lo and Johan Christensen, trailed with 11% and 5%, respectively.

The top two finishers in each City Council primary election race head to the Nov. 2 general election.

Full story here.

—Paige Cornwell

Michelle Sarju, Vivian Song Maritz leading in early count for Seattle School Board

Seattle School Board candidate Vivian Song Maritz was leading three candidates, including incumbent Erin Dury, for District 4 in Tuesday night’s primary election vote count. Michelle Sarju was ahead of two other candidates for an open seat in District 5.

 The chaotic year of online learning motivated seven candidates to run for two seats on the board that governs Washington’s largest school district. The top two vote-getters for districts 4 and 5 will advance to the general election Nov. 2, when voters will also choose between incumbent Brandon Hersey and Genesis Williamson for District 7.

The Seattle district has had a tumultuous year. Its former superintendent, Denise Juneau, decided not to seek to renew her contract because of a strained relationship with the School Board. One School Board member resigned from her post. A citizens group attempted to recall the entire board for failing to adequately plan for students’ return to class. And parents were critical of Seattle Public Schools — one of the first urban districts in the country to go remote — for taking so long to bring kids back for in-person schooling.

Full story here.

—Monica Velez

Teresa Mosqueda headed to general, Nikkita Oliver and Sara Nelson lead in Seattle City Council races

Tuesday night’s primary results show a competitive race shaping up for one of two citywide Seattle City Council seats in the Nov. 2 general election.  

In the race for Position 8, council incumbent Teresa Mosqueda appears headed for the Nov. 2 general election with almost 55% of Tuesday’s vote count, an expected outcome given her fundraising advantage over her lesser-known competitors. The other citywide position, vacated by council President M. Lorena González in her run for mayor, yielded a more competitive split between Nikkita Oliver and Sara Nelson, with 35% and 42% of Tuesday’s results, leaving Brianna Thomas trailing in third place.

Results from mail-in ballots will continue to trickle in over the next several days. The top two vote-getters from each race will move on to the general election in November.  

Whoever wins these seats could shift the tone and trajectory of the council, which over four years has regularly clashed with Mayor Jenny Durkan over issues related to homelessness, policing and the racial justice protests of 2020.  

Full story here.

—Sydney Brownstone

Bruce Harrell leads in Seattle mayoral primary contest, followed by M. Lorena González

Bruce Harrell led Seattle’s mayoral primary election in results reported Tuesday night, with M. Lorena González in second place.

Harrell had 38% of the votes included in the count, while González had 29%. Two candidates from the nonpartisan contest will advance to the Nov. 2 general election. More votes — as many as half the expected total, according to election officials —will be tallied in the coming days.

Trailing among 15 candidates on the ballot were Colleen Echohawk with 8%, Jessyn Farrell with 7%, Art Langlie with 6%, Casey Sixkiller with 4%, Andrew Grant Houston with 3% and Lance Randall with 1%.

Seattle’s general elections for mayor tend to pit a candidate with more support from downtown business leaders and homeowners in neighborhoods with water views against a candidate with more support from progressive activists and renters in neighborhoods with apartments.

The 2021 race broke open last December when Mayor Jenny Durkan announced she wouldn’t seek reelection. Concerns about homelessness, policing and the city’s recovery from COVID-19 drove conversations with voters and disagreements between candidates in recent months.

A crowded field, scant independent polling and widespread uncertainty among voters created suspense before Tuesday night, with election officials predicting that about 40% of Seattle voters would turn out.

Many were like Crystal Rutherford, 60, scanning the primary ballot for an action-oriented choice.

“It’s easy for candidates to say, ‘homelessness – that’s a problem,'” Rutherford said Tuesday after visiting a drop box in Ballard. “Well, duh it’s a problem. But what’s the solution?”

Read the full story on the early primary results.

—Daniel Beekman

Dow Constantine leads in King County executive primary, Joe Nguyen trails

King County Executive Dow Constantine, seeking his fourth term, is cruising toward the general election, as he led Tuesday night with 53% of the vote.

Constantine will likely face his first serious, well-funded challenger in more than a decade, as state Sen. Joe Nguyen also looked sure to advance, capturing 30% of the votes counted Tuesday.

It would be a matchup between two progressive Democrats.

Read the full story on the early primary results.

—David Gutman

King County’s Best Starts for Kids levy leading in primary election returns

King County’s bid to double its ambitious and sprawling tax measure for youth, Best Starts for Kids, is leading in primary election returns.

Tuesday night’s vote count showed 59% of voters agreeing to renew the levy, which would collect around $872 million over six years to be spent on a range of child care, youth criminal justice and early childhood programs.

If the renewal passes, it would cost about $114 a year for the median-priced home countywide, or $45 more than this year — and would pay for additional services such as child care subsidies to an estimated 3,000 low-income families, and a pilot program increasing wages for child care workers.

The original levy, an idea first conceived by King County Executive Dow Constantine, had the goal of improving the lives of youth from birth through college. Voters passed it in 2015, and it will expire on Dec. 31 if not renewed.

Full story here.

—Dahlia Bazzaz

Seattle rain sends some mayoral candidate supporters rushing for cover

The skies opened up a bit to rain on Seattle mayoral candidate parties. Supporters are heading indoors.

Polls closed at 8 p.m. Initial results are expected soon.


Colleen Echohawk's supporters — aka The Echoflock — celebrate campaign

Supporters of Seattle mayoral candidate Colleen Echohawk, or The Echoflock, as they call themselves, are gathering at Little Saigon International District’s Tamarind Tree to celebrate her campaign. She aims to become Seattle's first Indigenous mayor.

Spirits are high and core supporters are wearing handmade leis, a thank you from the candidate.

Echohawk's sister, Lael Echo-Hawk, sported one of them. She disagrees on hyphenating their last name, but never questioned Echohawk’s passion for the race and staying power.

“I was the one who always wanted to play outside. She was student body president,” Echo-Hawk said.

Reid Branson, a campaign volunteer who helped knock on 14,000 doors, also noted the candidate's passion.

“I wanted to see change in Seattle and I felt an Indigenous woman was a really strong choice … I was casting about as a way to be of service,” Branson said.

—Lynda V. Mapes

Unions, real estate moguls have big money riding on Seattle's mayoral primary

Three top candidates for Seattle mayor have benefited from six-figure support via union- and business-backed political-action committees seeking to tip the scales in the Aug. 3 primary.

The independent PAC expenditures allow individual donors or organizations to blow past contribution limits that apply to candidate campaigns. The PACs can raise unlimited amounts as long as they don't coordinate with the candidates.

By far the largest player in the primary is the union-backed Essential Workers for Lorena, which is supporting Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González.

The group, bankrolled by unions representing hotel and supermarket workers, has reported $443,000 in expenditures, according to filings with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. Notably, that paid for 20,345 pounds of dried cherries sent with mailers touting González's life story as a daughter of migrant farmworkers.

The bulk of the money for that PAC — more than $350,000 — was donated by local and national branches of UNITE HERE, the union representing hotel and other hospitality workers. UFCW 21, which represents supermarket workers, kicked in another $100,000.

On the council, González authored legislation that has kept big businesses from matching those expenditures. The law, which exempted unions, was prompted by Amazon's wildly unsuccessful $1 million foray into influencing the council elections in 2019.

Journalist Paul Queary, writing at the Washington Observer, notes that the law has left wealthy individuals to pick up the big-money slack for sidelined corporations.

Former City Council President Bruce Harrell's mayoral campaign, for example, has been supported by a PAC funded by some big real estate and other business players.

The group, Bruce Harrell for Seattle's Future, has spent more than $265,000. Goodman Real Estate chief George Petrie and his wife, Alyssa, are the top donors to that effort, giving $100,000.

Former state Rep. Jessyn Farrell also has received backing from a PAC, largely funded by her employer, local venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who runs a progressive political group, Civic Ventures.

The PAC, Seattle United for Progressive Change, has spent about $100,000, with Hanauer and his wife, Leslie, donating $50,000 of that.

—Jim Brunner

Camp Harrell: `We've done our homework and we'll see how we do.'

Bruce Harrell’s campaign chose the BluWater Bistro in Leschi as its primary election night party spot because it’s a favorite for family meals.

“Eat the cobbler,” said Monisha Harrell, the candidate’s niece and volunteer campaign manager.

Monisha Harrell called the evening “exciting.”

“It’s a massive exam,” Monisha Harrell said. “We’ve studied. We’ve done our homework and we’ll see how we do.”

Supporters said they viewed Bruce Harrell as a longtime community advocate, a steady leader and someone who can bridge divides in city government.

“He’s been a big supporter of the community since I was a kid,” said Kateesha Atterberry, a third-generation Seattleite.

Atterberry said Harrell can bridge divides between the business community, the public and social organizations.

Atterberry said Harrell’s experience as an attorney and former city councilmember was important.

“I need somebody with a track record,” atterberry said.

Atterberry views the current city council as dysfunctional and believes members don’t work together very well.

Atterberry thinks Harrell will be able to bring people together and bridge divides.

—Evan Bush

Candidates for Seattle mayor hold election night parties

You can follow along here for highlights from various election night parties thrown by candidates for Seattle mayor.

Seattle Times reporter Evan Bush has arrived at candidate Bruce Harrell's party in Leschi.

Reporter Daisy Zavala is catching up with Jessyn Farrell's crew, at Optimism Brewing Company on Capitol Hill.

2021 Primary Election voting resources

We're getting closer to polls closing. If you haven't voted, hurry to a drop box!

For more information about voting, ballot drop boxes, accessible voting and online ballots, contact your county elections office. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. on Aug. 3.

For more information on your ballot, in any county, go to: myvote.wa.gov

Elections officials: Primary elections running smoothly so far in King County, statewide

With less than three hours until polls close, King County and state elections officials reported few problems with voting in the Aug. 3 primary election.

"It's been smooth sailing so far," said King County Elections spokesperson Halei Watkins.

Other than a ballot drop box struck by a car in Marysville on Monday, the Washington Secretary of State's Office had reported no complaints or problems as of Tuesday spokesperson Kylee Zabel said. (Snohomish County elections staff members secured all ballots on Monday and repaired the damaged drop box quickly, according to messages posted on social media.)

Statewide voting statistics show that only about 1.2% of the roughly 756,000 ballots returned in Washington's 2021 primary election through Monday had been challenged, mostly due to signature issues. That percentage is about average for challenged ballots in a typical election, Zabel said.

—Lewis Kamb

Despite ease of voting, most skipping out on Washington primary

Washington has made voting free and easy, with ballots mailed to every registered voter and no postage required to send them in.

Still, fewer than half of eligible voters are bothering to participate in the Aug. 3 primary.

As of noon Tuesday, just 21% of ballots had been returned in King County. In Seattle, with competitive contests for mayor, city attorney, and two council seats, it's slightly higher, at 23.4%.

Turnout statewide sat at about 17.4% as of 5 p.m. on Monday, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Even with the typical last-minute surge of ballots mailed in or deposited in drop boxes, it appears likely turnout won't hit the 40% predicted by King County Elections officials, according to spokeswoman Halei Watkins.

"For turnout, it heavily depends on what drop box returns look like through the rest of the evening. It looks like it has been steady but not overwhelming at boxes, which makes me think we likely won’t hit 40% but will end up somewhere north of 2017 Primary turnout, which was 34%," Watkins said in an email.

Older voters are dominating the early returns. In King County, nearly 36% of voters 65 and older and 20% of those aged 55-64 had sent in ballots as of yesterday. That compares with 8% of voters aged 25-34 and under 7% for voters between 18 and 24.

Skimpy turnout in odd-year elections — especially primaries — is nothing new. With no statewide races or presidential candidates on the ballot, infrequent voters tend to skip out.

As Watkins mentioned, King County primary turnout four years ago was 34%. In the 2013 primary, it was 29%.

—Jim Brunner

'I don’t know if Seattle can sit on its hands anymore'

At the ballot drop box in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, Chris Eng, 34, said he was voting for “progressive change” with candidates like Nikkita Oliver, who is running for the Seattle City Council Position 9 seat.

“I don’t know if Seattle can sit on its hands anymore,” said Eng, who works in tech and lives in South Seattle.

Choosing a mayoral candidate was tougher, he added, but he said decided on M. Lorena González, saying that he liked her work on the City Council.

He thought she might be able to bridge the gap between the mayor and City Council members, “as opposed to something combative.”

One of Eng’s focuses when selecting candidates is criminal-justice reform, which he said he has begun to see “how unjust it all is.”

“Throwing the book at people is actually, in many cases, the worst possible thing that could happen,” he said. “It’s scary to think about the alternative, but let’s give it a shot.”

—Paige Cornwell

Voters share which issues they're focusing on this election

After dropping off her ballot at Seattle Pacific University’s drop box, Chris Eaton said she thinks Seattle has some big decisions to make, particularly about how to handle the city’s homelessness crisis. 

“I think it’s time to address the homeless problem,” Eaton said. Now retired, Eaton said that she’s seen a major increase in people sleeping and living in Seattle parks and on public land.  

“I don’t think it’s an easy problem to solve,” Eaton said. “And I don’t know, personally, the solution.” 

But she’s hopeful that Seattle’s next mayor and City Council will take significant steps to decreasing the city’s homelessness problem. “I think that the choice of candidates is more important now than ever.”

Meanwhile at the Green Lake ballot box, Nikki Ann Olson said coronavirus response, housing and education funding are the issues important to her this election. 

Simon Clarke, also dropping off his ballot at the Green Lake ballot box, said he is looking for a good replacement for outgoing Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Ann Giesel said the ballot box was en route and that it’s her first time voting at the Green Lake location. 

“I give it a ten,” she said. 

—Anna Patrick and Amanda Zhou

Test your Seattle knowledge as you wait for early results

Ballots must be postmarked by today or dropped off by 8 p.m. Early returns are expected to be released at about 8:15 p.m.

While you wait, take a quiz by The Seattle Times to see if you know more about Seattle than the candidates for mayor.

Then watch how the eight leading candidates answered the same questions in a video-recorded quiz with The Times.

—Seattle Times staff

Homelessness, police reform, experience, representation weigh on Ballard voters' minds

At King County’s busiest drop box outside of the Ballard library branch, voters dropped off ballots late Tuesday morning against the backdrop of tents lining the sidewalks and grounds of the nearby Ballard Commons Park.

The city’s homelessness crisis, along with police reform, weighed the most heavily on Crystal Rutherford’s mind when voting during this year’s primary, she said after dropping her ballot.

“It’s easy for candidates to say, `homelessness – that’s a problem,'” said Rutherford, 61. “Well, duh it's a problem. But what’s the solution? I was really trying to find someone who had solutions.”

Rutherford, who grew up in Spain under dictator Francisco Franco, said she also cast votes for candidates who she felt shared her belief that the city’s police department needs to be reformed.

“I’m not for defunding the police entirely, but I am for de-militarizing police and for a lot more training,” she said. “The United States doesn’t train its officers enough.”

For Bruce Whittemore, 91, past experience in politics and government was a key factor in his decision to vote for former City Councilmember Bruce Harrell in a crowded Seattle' mayor's race this election.

“Last night, when I finally read up on all these characters that are running, it was pretty clear that a lot of them were very unqualified,” Whittemore said. “I felt that (Harrell) at least has been there before. He had the experience and knows what to look at.”

Austin Raymond, 26, said she supported progressive candidates who could bring more inclusiveness and representation to city government while taking on the city’s biggest challenges.

“I was excited to vote for candidates like Colleen Echohawk and Nikkita Oliver, who’ll bring representation for women and non-binary people of color,” she said.

Raymond said she felt Echohawk’s 22-point “housing for all” plan was by far the most comprehensive approach among mayoral candidates to addressing the city’s homelessness crisis.

—Lewis Kamb

‘Every election matters’

Alex Edelsburg wanted to turn in his ballot ahead of Tuesday’s primary deadline. But, alas, he found himself pulling in to Seattle Pacific University’s ballot drop box location Tuesday morning, between work meetings. 

“Every election matters,” he said. “The local matters more because at the end of the day that’s what’s happening in your backyard.” 

For the elections happening in Seattle this year, Edelsburg said he hopes the city’s next mayor and City Council can find a way to work together, but also keep each other in check in a healthy way.

Alex Edelsburg said he participates in every election because it’s his civic duty. He said he hopes this election can help to bring in a new mayor and new City Council members who get along and work together. (Anna Patrick / The Seattle Times)

He wants Seattle to direct more attention to boosting its mental-health resources for people in crisis, so fewer police officers will need to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Edelsburg said he hopes more people will vote, even during a primary. “You can’t sit there and (expletive) and say, ‘I don’t like what they’re doing,'" he said. “You can, but it’s much more helpful if you vote.”

—Anna Patrick

More than 3,600 ballots dropped off in Ballard as of Tuesday morning

Outside the Ballard library, there was a steady stream of voters casting ballots Tuesday morning. Typically among the busiest locations, the Ballard drop box had collected more than 3,600 as of Tuesday morning, according to King County Elections, the most of any box in the county.

Jessica Darlington cast her second ballot ever Tuesday morning. Darlington turned 18 in September and voted in last year's presidential election.

"It's super important for young people to vote," Darlington said. "Even though this is an off-year election, it's super important."

Jessica Darlington voted Tuesday in her second ever election since turning 18 in September. (David Gutman / The Seattle Times)

In her neighborhood, there's a homeless camp that's taken over the park, said Darlington, a student at North Seattle College.

"These people are being pushed around the city and we have the means to provide housing, to do something about it," she said.

Jessica S., 33, said voting is especially important, especially for people of color. She wants candidates who will defund the police and reinvest in community services, and will provide "an empathy-based approach to people experiencing homelessness."

She rattled off her ballot choices, only one name necessary: "Echohawk, Nikkita, Teresa, Prop 1."

"If Seattle is going to be the progressive beacon it's supposed to be, we have to do better," said Jessica, who declined to give her last name.

For Michael Ritter, homelessness is the issue of this election. Ritter, 41, said the city needs to focus on getting people into housing first, and everything else — providing services, treatment and other resources — can come second.

"The important thing is to get people into homes," Ritter said.

Michael Ritter, 41, said the key issue this election is addressing homelessness. (David Gutman / The Seattle Times)

—David Gutman

Voting for the 'most Joe Biden-ish candidate'

Nathan Byers rode through Queen Anne’s ballot drop-box location Tuesday morning without having to get off his Triumph motorcycle to cast his vote. (Anna Patrick / The Seattle Times)

Nathan Byers has lived in Seattle for about 30 years. And over time, he’s seen Seattle’s city government lean more and more progressive.

“I am a person who finds our current City Council too far out, if you will,” he said. “And I’d describe myself as a moderate liberal.”

Byers said he’s voting for Bruce Harrell, former three-term City Council member, to be Seattle’s next mayor because he sees a pragmatic moderate in him. Byers rolled into Queen Anne’s ballot drop-box location, a parking lot next to Seattle Pacific University’s bookstore, on his Triumph motorcycle.

“I’m older and perhaps more pragmatic than I was when I was 20,” he said. “I’m voting for probably the most Joe Biden-ish mayoral candidate that there is in Bruce Harrell.”

—Anna Patrick

"I always vote": What one Seattle voter looks for in candidates

Bruce Flory, 67, said he looks for candidates who have public experience and also treat issues systemically, not reactionarily. “I always vote,” he said.

Bruce Flory, 67, dropped off his ballot at North Seattle College.

“I always vote,” he said. 

He said he looks for candidates who have public experience and also treat issues systemically, not reactionarily. 

He believes housing should come first when it comes to addressing homelessness and that Washington state has a regressive tax system. As for the criminal justice system he said public safety, not necessarily police, should be the goal. 

Flory said he would like to see incumbent Pete Holmes advance in the race for city attorney and the King County Best Starts for Kids levy approved. 

As for the county executive race, he said incumbent Dow Constantine has dragged his feet on alternatives to incarcerating young offenders but seems to be on the right track now. 

“I did not vote for Goodspaceguy,” he said. 

—Amanda Zhou

Voters drop off ballots at Gas Works Park

The drop box at Gas Works Park is conveniently located near a loop in the road where cars can pull over without blocking traffic. 

Andre Bautista, 30, was among the voters at the drop box Tuesday morning. “I feel like it’s my duty to vote,” he said. 

Bautista said he is a frequent primary voter and is excited for change. 

Linda Bevis, a 60-year-old teacher, biked to the same ballot box. She said she cares about the housing crisis, climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“I think it’s important to vote. People have not had the right to vote across the world.” She has also mailed in ballots in the past. 

Cory Maclay, 62, said she is looking for change in the Seattle mayor's office and City Council. She had just finished an appointment with a physical therapist nearby and stopped on her way to biking to buy breakfast.

—Amanda Zhou

Primary ballots are due today. Here's what to do if you can't find yours, or if you need to register to vote today

If you are rummaging through a pile of papers and bills on your coffee table and cannot find your ballot, you can still vote, but time is running out.

Ballots for the primary must be postmarked by Tuesday, but relying on the mail at this late hour can be risky.  The safer option is to find an official drop box, and get your ballot in there by 8 p.m.

To find King County drop box locations and in-person locations for voters who missed the online registration deadline or have physical challenges that require help filling out the ballot, as well as information on what to do if you've lost your ballot, click here or call 206-296-VOTE (8683). Find that information for Snohomish County here, or call 425-259-2777.

—Seattle Times staff

What to know about the primary election in Seattle and King County

Here's what you need to know about the primary election:

  • Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, seeking a fourth term, is in for a fight and signaled he's worried he might not make it through the primary. His two challengers have very different critiques. Former public defender Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is running as an abolitionist who'd like to halt most misdemeanor prosecutions. Arbitrator Ann Davidson argues Holmes is failing to crack down enough on street crime.
  • Two citywide Seattle City Council seats are up for election this year, with one race more competitive than the other. Position 8 incumbent Teresa Mosqueda is facing several poorly funded challengers. In the Position 9 race, three top candidates are competing to get through the primary: Nikkita Oliver, a lawyer and organizer; Brianna Thomas, González council office chief of staff; and Sara Nelson, who co-owns Fremont Brewing.
  • Also at stake is a proposed $872 million renewal and expansion of King County's Best Starts for Kids levy, and primaries with multiple challengers to Metropolitan King County Council incumbents Reagan Dunn, Kathy Lambert and Pete von Reichbauer.
  • Turnout is low so far, with about 16% of King County's 1.4 million voters having returned ballots as of Monday. Elections officials have projected a countywide turnout of 40%.
—Jim Brunner