Arrow-right Camera


Sat., Sept. 16, 2006

Jewel of democracy

The thick envelope containing the Sept. 19 Washington state primary ballot has been in people’s homes for more than two weeks now.

As of Thursday afternoon, 59,198 ballots – out of 238,000 ballots mailed to Spokane County homes – have been filled out and returned. That leaves a lot more out there, still waiting. The ballot’s envelope offers this nag: “Official ballot. Do not delay.”

Excuses abound why ballots remain in people’s homes rather than with voting officials. Schools and colleges recently started up. Gardens need to be put to bed for the winter. Early September’s warm weather coaxed people outdoors, and filling in ballots definitely feels like indoor work.

Some voters might still be holding a grudge that the primary of old is gone forever. You can’t vote cross-party as voters once could. That style of primary was declared unconstitutional. Now, voters must choose among a Republican, Democratic or nonpartisan ballot.

If it helps as motivation, think of the ballot not as a piece of paper, but as an expensive piece of jewelry that you’ve been entrusted with for a few weeks. Corny, yes. But consider that men and women throughout our history have died to preserve this voting gem. Consider that people in other countries risk their lives daily to hold on to the right to vote in free elections.

If you feel uninformed, there is still time to educate yourself. Call or e-mail the best informed person you know and ask advice. Go to the 2006 Election Guide on the cover page at or check out information at Spokane County’s election central,

Today, we’re reprinting the editorial board’s endorsements in races that will most likely be decided in the primary or in races in which several candidates filed, as was the case in two Spokane County District Court races.

The editorial board will consider the candidates who emerge from the primary and make endorsements again in the general election, Nov. 7.

Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday. Or you can drop them off Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. at five Voter Service Centers. For locations, check the county’s election Web site (see address above) or call (509) 477-2320.

The easiest way to vote remains filling your ballots out from home and popping them in the mail. Just do it.

End of civic nag.

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