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2013 Primary underway

by Brian Zylstra | July 18th, 2013

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If you’re a registered voter, make sure to check your mail over the next few days. Washington’s 2013 Primary is underway and county elections officials are mailing ballots this week to most of the state’s registered voters. Military and overseas ballots already have gone out.

Because this is an odd-numbered year, the Primary, which ends Aug. 6, will be dominated by local races, mostly nonpartisan. The Primary includes three special state Senate races in the 7th (Northeast Washington), 8th (part of Benton County) and 26th (parts of Kitsap and Pierce counties) districts. The top two vote-getters in each district advance to the General Election. Go here to view our online Primary Voters’ Guide on these three legislative races.

Some voters won’t receive a Primary ballot this year. Asotin, Columbia and Garfield counties require no Primary at all this year, and parts of many counties also have no races that are contested in the Primary.

State Elections Division officials predict that Primary voter turnout will be about 30 percent, which is in the same range as the 2011 Primary (29.54 percent) and 2009 Primary (31.04 percent).

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Washington’s chief elections official, said that while odd-year elections normally have lower turnout due to a lack of attention-grabbing statewide, legislative or federal races, they still matter.

“Local races can impact our daily lives significantly. I encourage voters to study the races and take a few minutes to fill out and return their ballot by Election Day,” Wyman said.

Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 6 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots can also be returned to accessible voting centers during business hours.

If you aren’t registered to vote in Washington, you have until July 29 to do so. You need to visit your county elections office to register in person.

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