If you’re a registered voter in Washington, your ballot should be showing up in your mailbox in the next few days.
County elections officials will mail ballots for the general election to nearly 4 million voters Wednesday and Thursday. They’re due back by the evening of Nov. 3, but voters can mail or deposit them in drop boxes any time before that.
If state elections officials are right, less than half will come back. In announcing the official start of the election, Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office estimated turnout would be about 46 percent.
The ballot mostly involves races for offices in cities, towns and local districts, although the top has two statewide initiatives, one that tries to force the Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment that requires a supermajority for tax increases, and another that would place state penalties on trafficking in endangered animal parts. There are also four advisory measures on state tax increases.
Spokane city voters will elect a mayor, council president and half of their city council. Spokane Valley city voters have three council positions on the ballot, although one is unopposed.
School, fire, water, sewer and cemetery districts are also electing board members or commissioners. Spokane County voters will decide whether to expand their board of commissioners – the legislative and executive arm of county government – from the current three members to five.
In all, Washington has 3,043 different races on the ballot, with 3,942 candidates, state elections officials said. That math suggests that many candidates are running unopposed. There are also 166 ballot measures, covering everything from higher minimum wage laws in some cities to bans on fireworks to tax levies.
After marking the ballot, voters must place it in the security envelope, and then in the mailing envelope, which must be signed. Mailing the ballot requires postage; placing it in a drop box is free.
Voters who are registered should get their ballots in the next few days. If one doesn’t arrive by Oct. 23, voters should call the county elections office for a new ballot. State residents who aren’t registered have until Oct. 26 to sign up, but must do so in person at the county elections office.
Spokane County has drop boxes at most public libraries and several other locations. To find the closest drop box, click here.
To find information for elections offices in other counties, click here.