by Brian Zylstra | August 7th, 2012
(Pierce County elections workers process Primary Election ballots that were returned.)
After weeks of media stories, editorials and campaign ads and mailings, it’s finally here: P-Day, better known as Primary Election Day here in Washington.
Thanks to our state’s vote-by-mail system, Washington voters have had a fortnight to ponder, fill out and return their ballot before Tuesday’s 8 p.m. deadline.
Well, ponder no more. Your ballots are due. If you haven’t returned your ballot yet, do it before it’s too late.
So far, many voters have been taking their time to return their ballot. Secretary Reed predicted a 46 percent turnout for the Primary, slightly higher than normal for a presidential- election-year Primary. Some expect there will be a last-day barrage of returned ballots.
If you haven’t voted and returned your ballot yet, Secretary Reed suggests that you put it in a ballot drop box provided by your county, or to bring it to your county elections office. Go here to find out where your county elections office is located and where it has ballot drop boxes. Don’t forget that you have until 8 tonight to do this! We also recommend that you don’t mail in your ballot today because it may not be postmarked today. We want your vote to count.
There are many high-profile and important races in the Primary, including:
• Governor, highlighted by the preliminary battle between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna.
• Three other open statewide offices – Secretary of State, Attorney General and State Auditor.
• U.S. Senate, topped by Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner.
• All 10 U.S. House seats, including the hypercompetitive race in the 1st Congressional District and the new 10th CD.
• All 98 seats in the state House of Representatives and about half of the state Senate seats.
(San Juan County Auditor Milene Henley picks up a batch of ballots on Lopez and Orcas islands to take back to her office for processing.)
Under Washington’s Top 2 Primary system, the top two vote-getters, regardless of political party, advance to the General Election this fall.
It’s important to note that judicial races (including three State Supreme Court contests) and the election for Superintendent of Public Instruction are not affected by the rules of the Top 2 Primary, so if a candidate in any of those races receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the Primary, he or she will be the only candidate to appear on the General Election ballot for that race.