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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Endorsements and editorials are made solely by the ownership of this newspaper. As is the case at most newspapers across the nation, The Spokesman-Review newsroom and its editors are not a part of this endorsement process. (Learn more.)

Enjoy summer, but remember to vote

The timing of Washington state’s primary election is unfortunate, and this year is no exception. The weather is great. The lake beckons. Vacations, too. After a long winter slog, folks are enjoying the sunshine.

At the same time, there is an important election underway. Those folks waving political signs from the street corners? Those are candidates. Of course, you’d have to be in town to see them.

Among the many contests in Spokane County, leaders on the courts, school boards and various city and town councils will be selected.

As of Thursday morning, only 12.9 percent of Spokane county voters had returned their ballots, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The last day to vote is Tuesday. Ballot returns generally pick up as the deadline approaches, but that’s still a worrisome figure.

By comparison, 19.9 percent of Stevens County voters had returned ballots. In Garfield County, it’s 30.4 percent. Time to pick up the pace, Spokane County voters.

So why hold an election when so many people have checked out? The reason is bit complicated, but it is legitimate.

The Washington Legislature moved the state’s primary election twice over concerns that there wasn’t enough time between the primary and general elections. First it was moved to the middle of August, then to the beginning of August. Under the old dates, election officials barely had time to tabulate primary results, produce general election ballots and mail them out to meet the federal requirement that military and overseas ballots be sent 45 days before the general election.

Timing aside, these primary contests touch on important local issues, such as criminal justice reform, public safety, education policy, economic development, road maintenance, taxation and spending.

While most of the attention these days is on the presidency and Congress, local governments are making decisions that directly affect the lives of Spokane County residents. Local voters have more impact here than they do in Washington, D.C.

So, by all means, enjoy the summer, but don’t forget to vote.

Spokesman-Review endorsements

The Spokesman-Review’s editorial board has issued endorsements in select primary races, and will do so again in the general election. The top two finishers in each race advance. Our recommendations are:

Spokane County Superior Court Position 6: Tony Hazel.

Spokane City Council District 1, Position 2: Kathryn Alexander.

Spokane County District 2, Position 2: Breean Beggs and Andy Dunau.

Spokane City Council District 3, Position 2: Candace Mumm and Brian Burrow.

Spokane Valley City Council, Position 1: Rod Higgins and Albert Merkel.

Spokane Valley City Council, Position 5: Pamela Haley.

Spokane Public School Board, Position 5: Michael Wiser.

The full editorial endorsements in these races can be found here.

To respond to this editorial online, go to and click on “Opinion.”