Ballots are now in the hands of Washington for the August 3 primary election.
Voters are receiving some help this year. For the first time, counties are required to compile their own voters’ pamphlets to provide information about local candidates and measures.
“Some counties, like Spokane, we’ve printed the pamphlet, it’s a separate pamphlet, and we’re mailing it to every household, and that includes P.O. boxes," said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton. Spokane’s voters’ guide is several pages long.
“Other counties are having very small primaries, teeny weeny primaries. Theirs is just one sheet of paper, so they’re including it in with the ballot. That includes Pend Oreille County and Whitman County," she said.
Dalton says the guides were mandated by a bill approved last year by the legislature.
Last November, Washington had one of its largest-ever voter turnouts. This summer, with the attention on the heat and wildfires and recovering from the pandemic, another election might run low on our collective radar screens. But Dalton says Washington has a few things going for it.
“The good news is we’re vote by mail," she said. "They don’t have to get in their car. They don’t have to have find some poll site that doesn’t have air conditioning. They just need to check their mail box and now, not only for their ballot, but also for their local voters’ pamphlet, make their decisions and toss it back in the mail or into one of our white bins and they don’t have even have to worry about a stamp.”
Voters who want their ballots to be counted must physically return ballots, or have them postmarked, by August 3.