Many candidates already have been running for weeks or months, but the official start to campaign season in Washington – Candidate Filing Week – is next week, May 15-19.
Nearly all of the 3,100-plus offices open for this election this year are local offices, such as city council, school district, fire district, port district and other races, including Seattle mayor. There are eight legislative races (see which district you’re in here), two Court of Appeals elections in King County, one Superior Court race in Spokane County and one in Yakima County.
The eight legislative contests include:
• 7th Legislative District Senate and House Position 1
• 31st Legislative District Senate and House Position 2
• 37th Legislative District Senate
• 45th Legislative District Senate
• 48th Legislative District Senate and House Position 1
The 7th and 31st Legislative Districts encompass more than one county, therefore the state Elections Division will accept filings for the legislative races in those two districts online or in person at 520 Union Ave. SE in Olympia, or with their county auditor/elections department.
County election departments will handle all other filings.
While candidates could file via mail starting on May 1, it is recommended candidates file online or in person starting May 15.
Candidates may file online 24 hours a day, starting May 15, 9 a.m. through May 19, 4 p.m. Check with individual County Auditors for online filing availability. Applicable filing fees must accompany any candidate filing. In-person, faxed or e-mailed filings will be handled during normal office hours during Candidate Filing Week.
Monday, May 22, is the last day for a candidate to withdraw from the ballot.
For state offices, filing fees are 1 percent of one year’s salary for the office: Legislature, $468.39; Court of Appeals, $1,742.24; and Superior Court, $1,658.70. A petition process is available for those unable to pay the filing fee. Filing fees are nonrefundable.
State Elections Director Lori Augino is encouraging interested citizens to participate in this year’s filings and elections.
“It might be considered an ‘off-year’ election, however these elections can impact people as much as a big presidential election year, if not more,” Augino said. “There are so many local races on the ballot that affect communities, large and small, across Washington. If you’re a citizen who wants to make a difference and run for office, your first key step is filing for office.
“These local races, from city councils to schools and ports, are extremely important to communities and their citizens,” Augino added. “Our Elections Division staff has made available some excellent voter education materials, including print and online voters’ guides.”
Here is an 11-page guide on “How to Become a Candidate in Washington State.”
Finally, here are some of the frequently asked questions about candidate filing.