Will voters remember there’s an election this month?
It’s a fair question, and one that might trouble anyone who values the electoral system as the exercise of civic duty it’s intended to be.
Unfortunately, primary elections like the one coming up on Aug. 19 traditionally attract low voter turnouts. And that’s been the case when they were held in September. Now that they’ve been moved up to August, there’s more potential for being ignored or forgotten by people who are more interested in the final full month of summer activities.
For voters who do participate in this month’s primary, there’s an added twist of it being the first one under the new top-two system. The system, still standing despite the selfish efforts of the Democrat and Republican political parties to overturn it, allows voters to choose their favorite candidate for each office without worrying about party affiliation. The two leading recipients of votes will advance to the general election in November, whether that’s two Democrats, two Republicans or one of each. It’s even possible that candidates could have the party label but not necessarily the party’s full endorsement.
It’s the system that voters wanted when they approved the statewide Initiative 872 in 2004, and that hasn’t been changed despite legal challenges by the two major parties (they preferred primaries that nominated their respective, handpicked finalists along strictly partisan lines for the November runoff).
Maybe the top-two debut will boost voter turnout. People presumably like the chance to vote without partisan attachment. The results will be interesting.
Mail-in ballots were mailed out by the King County elections department last Friday.For your votes to count, you’ll have to fill out the ballots and have them postmarked no later than Aug. 19. Or you can hand-deliver them to the Black Diamond Library, one of the sites around the county for dropboxes that can save you the price of a stamp (assuming that’s less than the cost of the gas to drive there).
King County also has in-person voting at polling places, but this is scheduled to be the last year for that old-fashioned but time-honored tradition. Next year, the county plans to convert to all-mail voting.
Editor and publisher Pat Jenkins can be reached at (425) 432-1209 (extension 1050) and firstname.lastname@example.org