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Wednesday, January 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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First ballots mailed for Spokane County general election Nov. 5

An election ballot is placed in ballot box outside of the downtown Spokane Public Library in this November 2016 photo. The first ballots for the 2019 general election in Spokane were mailed Wednesday and must be returned by Nov. 5. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
An election ballot is placed in ballot box outside of the downtown Spokane Public Library in this November 2016 photo. The first ballots for the 2019 general election in Spokane were mailed Wednesday and must be returned by Nov. 5. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

The first of thousands of Spokane County ballots for the Nov. 5 general election were mailed Wednesday to some voters within city limits and eastern portions of the county.

The Spokane County Elections Office dropped about 170,000 ballots for voters in the 3rd and 4th legislative districts Wednesday, said Mike McLaughlin, elections manager for the county. Another 160,000 will be mailed Thursday to voters in the 6th, 7th and 9th legislative districts, which encompass much of the West Plains and northern and southern reaches of the county.

Those who haven’t registered to vote have until Oct. 28 to do so by mail or online, at olvr.votewa.gov. Online registrants will need a Washington driver’s license or ID card.

After Oct. 28 and until 8 p.m. Nov. 5, potential voters may register in person at their local elections office. In Spokane, that office is located at 1033 W. Gardner Ave. Registration will also be available during that period at CenterPlace Regional Event Center in Spokane Valley, 2426 N. Discovery Place.

Most cities and towns in the county have competitive races for city hall, fire districts and other races. There are also a number of bond and school board positions to be determined in local districts. Voters will see 12 statewide advisory votes before reaching those races on their ballot, however. The outcome of those votes aren’t binding, but are required as part of a 2007 citizen initiative that called for such votes to take place any time the state Legislature raises taxes or fees.

Ballots must be returned to the elections office by 8 p.m. Nov. 5. Votes will be counted even if the voter does not cast a vote in every race on their ballot, McLaughlin said. All that’s required is a signature matching the voting rolls on the back of the envelope.

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