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2014 WA Primary: Your vote, your voice

by Brian Zylstra | July 15th, 2014

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Ten years after Washington voters adopted the Top 2 Primary system by initiative, it’s time for the 2014 edition.

Check your mail over the next few days for your Primary ballot.  Although it’s a mid-term election, there are races and propositions that are significant for your community, and we’re hoping for an excellent turnout, state Elections Director Lori Augino said this week.

The 2014 Primary actually got under way last month when county election officials sent ballots by mail and electronically to about 65,000 military and overseas voters.  Now it’s time for the rest of us.

This year’s Primary, which ends Aug. 5, will be dominated by races in all 10 congressional districts, including the competitive race in Eastern Washington’s open 4th Congressional District to replace retiring U.S. Rep. “Doc” Hastings. The Primary also includes all 98 state House seats and 25 of the 49 state Senate seats. Among the state Senate battles is the crowded race in the 37th Legislative District to replace retiring Sen. Adam Kline.

There are no races for U.S. Senate or statewide offices this year. None of the four state Supreme Court races will be on the Primary ballot.

The top two vote-getters in each partisan race advance to the General Election, regardless of party preference. Go here to view our online Primary Voters’ Guide on the congressional and legislative primary races.

Voters in many counties also will see many local races and ballot measures on their Primary ballot. Among the most publicized in King County is Proposition 1, which would create the Seattle Park District.

Secretary of State Wyman predicts that Primary voter turnout will be about 40 percent, which is in the same range as the 2010 Primary (41 percent) and 2006 Primary (38.8 percent).

Wyman, Washington’s chief elections official, encourages voters to take part in the Primary by filling out and returning their ballot in time for their vote to count.

“Several important local ballot measures will be decided in this Primary, and congressional, legislative and county races will be pared down to two candidates for the General Election, so I encourage voters to study the races and measures and take a few minutes to fill out and return their ballot by Election Day,” Wyman said.

Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 5 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 28 to do so. You need to visit your county elections office to register in person.

The Top 2 system, since adopted by California voters and explored by other states, was approved by citizen initiative in 2004 after the Supreme Court tossed out the old “blanket” primary.  The political parties sued. Ultimately, the high court in 2008 upheld Top 2, saying that as implemented in Washington state, it does not infringe on the parties’ constitutional rights.  This will be the seventh running of the Top 2 here.

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The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog provides from-the-source information about important state news and public services. This space acts as a bridge between the public and Secretary Kim Wyman and her staff, and we invite you to contribute often to the conversation here.

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