Voters around Washington have until Tuesday to get their ballots in the mail or into the drop box for a primary that whittles down choices for city and town councils, school and fire boards. All but one county in the state vote by mail, so the idea of going to the polls on “election day” has been replaced with a three-week period in which ballots are mailed out, received, marked, signed and returned. In Spokane County, voters also are being asked to extend a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax to help cover law enforcement costs. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, the county’s chief elections officer, talks about how the primary is shaping up. Q: What are you expecting for turnout?
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Teams of election workers, watched by partisan observers, began recounting nearly 76,000 ballots in Spokane’s 6th Legislative District on Tuesday to determine whether a Democrat will oust the Republican incumbent in the state House. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton told the teams they were involved in a “double blind” process to check vote totals that have John Driscoll ahead of Rep. John Ahern by 74 votes.
The state’s major political parties don’t like the new primary election law, but it could provide them with an unexpected bonus: extra precinct officers. Many of the state’s elections officers like the new “top two” system, but it will cause them extra work: more ties and recounts for those ground-level elective offices.
With ballots for Washington’s top-two primary streaming in to county elections offices, state officials are unveiling a Web site to help voters with their ballots and registration. The new site, dubbed MyVote, allows voters to check their registered address and correct it if it’s wrong. They can also see which candidates are on their ballots and go to the state’s Voter Guide to see those candidates’ entries. The site lists places where voters can drop off ballots if they don’t want to put them in the mail.