For much of the Spokane area, voting in the August primary election won’t take long. In some areas, no time at all – there won’t be any ballots mailed because there are no races to decide.
For the city of Spokane, however, it will be a lengthier and arguably more interesting ballot.
Spokane city voters have a field of five running for mayor and four running for City Council president, which is also elected citywide. Two of the city’s three council districts have primaries, with six candidates running for an open seat in northeast Spokane’s District 1, and three for an opening in northwest Spokane’s District 3.
District 2 in south Spokane has only two candidates, so they get to skip the primary and move directly to the November election, as do the two Republicans running for the state Senate in the Spokane Valley’s 4th Legislative District. No Democrat filed for the seat.
Valley voters will have one race to whittle down, however. One of their City Council seats drew four candidates. A council position in Medical Lake will also be on the ballot with three candidates.
Spokane School District 81 has six candidates for an opening on its board. Deer Park School District and County Fire District 9 each has a single position with enough candidates to warrant a primary.
State election law says only races with three or more candidates go on the primary ballot, even for a partisan position like the state Senate.
Races with two candidates show up on the general election ballot. Candidates who are the only person who filed for an office must also run in November, when they could face a challenge from a write-in campaign.