Today is election day. Doesn’t feel the same as it used to, not with this fascination with voting by mail. Me, I’ll be walking my ballot down to the Voter Service Center at the STA Plaza and handing it to a live person.
One thing mail-in balloting does do is provide an advance clue as to turnout. That’s especially important in an election like the bond issue Spokane School District 81 has on today’s ballot. It won’t be valid, no matter how many people vote for it, unless the turnout is at least 40 percent of the last general election. The last general election, of course, would be the one in November when turnout was huge for the presidential election. I hear that school officials and other bond backers are worried that they won’t get there.
They wouldn’t have to worry about that if they ran their bond and levy elections in November, but they don’t want to do that. Prevailing wisdom has it that you can mobilize your supporters to turn out for a special election date in March and people who might oppose you are more likely to sit it out. The danger, of course, is the above-mentioned validation problem — especially on the heels of a heavy turnout.
Some of us just think that the more voters who participate, the more authentic the election. But if the District 81 bond fails and they submit it a second time, don’t bet that they’ll wait until November.