Four out of five voters in Spokane County probably still have a ballot sitting around the house somewhere. They have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to get it postmarked or put it in a drop box.
Marking the ballot shouldn’t take long. Some county residents have a single race – a superior court primary – and no one has more than a handful of choices to make.
Elections in odd-numbered years, with no federal or statewide races, typically have low turnout, but Spokane County Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said this year’s turnout is shaping up to be lower than normal. He suspects some of the ballots that have been returned are blank, which means voters will get credit for casting a ballot, but they won’t have any effect on the election.
Every voter in the county received a ballot because of the judicial primary and many people aren’t familiar with those candidates, he said.
City of Spokane voters have council primaries in each of the city’s three districts. Spokane Valley has a pair of council primaries and Medical Lake has primaries for mayor and three council seats. The two candidates with the most votes in each race advance to the November general election.
As of Monday, the highest turnout was in Liberty Lake, which has a $9 million bond issue for a community center. Liberty Lake turnout is above 31 percent, which is more than double the turnout in the cities of Spokane or Spokane Valley.
Parts of the county that are in the 7th Legislative District have partisan primaries – unusual for an odd-numbered year – because the state Senate seat became open with a resignation. One of the House members was appointed to fill that spot and her open seat was also filled with an appointment.
Legislative seats are partisan. Each race has only two candidates – one listing Republican as the party preference and one listing Democratic – so both candidates in each race will move on to the general election.
Voters with a lost or damaged ballot can get a replacement Tuesday at a Voter Service Center.
Ballots can be mailed in with a first-class stamp, although to be sure they are postmarked in time, a voter might want to take it to a post office. No postage is needed to deposit it in a drop box.
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