It’s finally here: Washington’s 2015 election period is under way as the 39 counties mail out 4 million ballots and Voters’ Pamphlets begin arriving.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman says the emphasis is on important local races and issues that affect our daily lives. There are two statewide ballot measures and two one-year state House vacancies to fill, but no statewide offices or congressional seats are on the ballot this year. Said Wyman:
“This election may not have the sizzle of the presidential-year election like we’ll have in 2016, but we have hundreds of local candidates and measures to decide, so it’s a big-deal election as far as I’m concerned.”
Statewide, there are 3,924 candidates facing off in 3,043 races, and 166 measures on the ballot. King County alone has 460 candidates for 331 offices and 20 measures on the ballot.
District-based city council races are unfolding in Seattle and Yakima. Some cities are electing mayors and council members. Voters in many areas are picking school board members, port commissioners and other local officials. Issues include minimum wage in Tacoma, parks, fireworks ban, recreational marijuana stores, children’s levy, and more.
“I urge voters to take a little time to study the Voters Pamphlet, campaign materials, the online and video Voters Guides, and then cast a ballot promptly. You’ll feel good about it and it’s good to remember that self-government works best when lots of us take part and give our ‘two cents,'” Wyman said.
The state Elections Division has forecast a 46 percent ballot return in this vote-by-mail state. That is a little better than the 2013 participation rate and a bit lower than previous off-year elections when ballot propositions and hot races seemed to spur stronger interest.
“This is the voter’s moment,” said state Elections Director Lori Augino. “Most ballots should arrive by the weekend and election administrators are eager to get a healthy response.”
Ballots returned by mail need a postmark no later than Nov. 3, Election Day. An increasingly popular option is drop boxes. Some counties are getting more than half of their ballots returned this way. To find a ballot drop box, visit www.MyVote.wa.gov
For a replacement ballot, visit your county auditor’s office/King County elections office or go online to MyVote.
Results will begin to post at www.vote.wa.gov after 8 p.m. on Election Night. Find the free results app “WA State Elections Results” on iTunes or Google Play.