Ballots Due Tuesday For Washington's Primary Election

Aug 5, 2019

Tomorrow’s [Tuesday’s] primary election in Washington is focused mostly on local races, from city councils to school boards. There are two races where appointed legislators will try to win their seats for full teams.

It’s an unusual election in that major changes approved by the legislature this year are taking effect.

For example, in the past, people who wanted to vote in Washington needed to register at least a month before the election. But now that has all changed.

“Basically now, there are no deadlines," said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.

She says you can now register to vote every day of the year, including Election Day.  

“Online and sending ballots through the mail cuts off eight days prior to Election Day," she said. "Then, if you want to register to vote during that week, before Election Day or Election Day itself, you need to come in physically to a county auditor’s office or a vote center.”

Dalton says Spokane County has one of those this election cycle, at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley.

The county’s cities and town are all electing local officials. In Spokane, voters are choosing a new mayor to replace David Condon, who is required to step down after two terms, and a new city council president to replace Ben Stuckart, who is also subject to term limits. Stuckart is one of five candidates for mayor. Four people are vying to take the council president seat. Lori Kinnear is running to keep her South district council seat; Karen Stratton is running for re-election in the Northwest district. Seven candidates are competing for an open seat in the Northeast.

Spokane County voters are asked to extend a one-tenth-of-a-cent sales tax devoted to criminal justice.

The Spokane County Library District, which operates 11 branches outside of Spokane and Liberty Lake, is asking for permission to tax up to their maximum allowable rate, 50-cents-per-thousand dollars of assessed valuation. Over the years, that rate has fallen to 43-cents due to inflation and other factors.

Director Patrick Roewe says the district needs to money to continue at its current service levels.

“We’ve got some infrastructure needs for our buildings, such as replacing some HVAC systems, things like that, not really flashy, but important to the comfort and for customers and the efficient running of our buildings," Roewe said. "We’re looking to do some security upgrades to our libraries, not as a response to any identified need. We’re at the point where we feel it would be good to have security cameras at entryways and in parking lots.”

One measure seeks to annex the town of Medical Lake into Fire District 3. That district is also asking to continue its property tax levy. Fire District 5 is asking its patrons to approve an improvement levy.

Ballots are due by Tuesday at 8 pm in ballot drop boxes or at the county auditor’s office. They must be postmarked, if mailed, by Tuesday.