It’s Major League Baseball’s all-star break, and you know what that means: It’s time to vote.
Not for your favorite player – it’s too late to stuff the ballot box for Mariner Felix Hernandez – but for the “prefers,” as in prefers Republican, Democrats, Independents and Libertarian.
Washington’s election cycle has crept into midsummer thanks to the laudable but slow process of making sure overseas servicemen and -women will receive and cast their ballots in time to be tabulated. That means Spokane County voters will start finding their primary election ballots in the mail by the end of this week. They’re due Aug. 5.
There are only five contested races: Fifth Congressional District, District 3 county commissioner, county treasurer and seats in the Washington House of Representatives from Districts 3 and 4.
Starting Wednesday, The Spokesman-Review will publish its endorsements in these primary races after interviewing each candidate and reviewing responses to questionnaires from our reporters. In most races, we will recommend a single candidate, but because Washington has a top-two primary, we might suggest voters forward two to the November ballot.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the overwhelming passage of Initiative 872, which endorsed the top-two system over the strenuous objections of Republicans and Democrats, who challenged the change until the courts told both sides the day of party-controlled voting was over. That was a very good day for voters.
There was more good news last week. The number of registered voters in Washington reached a new record, 3,922,537, which probably reflects surging population numbers in the Puget Sound area, not necessarily a fired-up electorate. Dueling gun-control initiatives will turn up the heat considerably in November.
But do not set aside your primary ballot while awaiting the main event. Too often in recent elections, minorities of minorities have been decisive because too many people did not fill out and deposit or mail in their ballots. Any one could be decisive.
Auditor Vicky Dalton calls Spokane County “the queen of the recounts” because, anecdotally, she knows of no other Washington county that so often needs to retabulate outcomes. Some examples: a 41-41 dead heat in last year’s Latah town council election; an 11-vote margin for the 2012 Riverside School District levy; and the 2010 five-way Spokane County Commission primary in which Al French advanced to the November election by out-distancing Jeff Holy by 113 votes out of more than 29,000 cast.
French won the general election over incumbent Bonnie Mager. Those two, plus Mary Lou Johnson, will re-engage in this primary.
So vote. The loudmouths are oft heard saying they want to “take back our country,” conveniently forgetting that it was the majority who pulled off the heist.
Every ballot discarded gives another that much more power. Vote, and empower yourself.