Registered voters have already received their ballots for the August 2nd Washington State primary election. On the ballot are the legislative candidates for state and federal offices, including those who will represent us in Congress. In Washington, the top two candidates move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
With the divisiveness of today’s politics, it’s tempting to just avoid the entire process, mistakenly believing that our vote doesn’t matter anyway.
But that’s the point of the negative rhetoric: to play on our emotions and make us feel like politics is so broken that the average voter no longer matters.
Your vote is more important than ever. Politicians who don’t care about the truth, who will say anything to stir up the electorate, are counting on our apathy to put themselves in positions of power.
There is little regulation on what a politician can say in campaign speech, and even less on what others can say about the candidates. Reports of disinformation and outright lies in campaign materials are already being reported in local media.
Don’t believe everything you read. If you are able, research the candidates and make sure those you vote for align with your values and have a history to show they are more than just talk. To me, a candidate that spends all their time bashing their opponent tells me they aren’t focused on how to create a better community.
Do you want a representative who is working for all of us, or one who only wants to work against policies and programs that make our communities safer, more inclusive, and better for everyone?
Here’s what you need to know to make sure your vote counts:
- If you aren’t registered yet, you can do so in person up until election day, August 2, at your county voting location (Benton County: 2618 N Columbia Center Blvd, Kennewick; Franklin County 1016 N. 4th Ave, Pasco).
- Ballots are mailed to each registered voter automatically.
- Verify your voter registration early at votewa.gov.
- Remember to sign your ballot. Take out your driver’s license and sign it the same way since that is likely the signature your ballot will be compared with.
- Include your phone number on the ballot. The auditor’s office will contact you by mail and/or by phone to try to resolve any problem with accepting your ballot.
- Return your ballot in a place that is secure, either in one of the many ballot dropboxes located around the county (locations are at sos.wa.gov) before 8pm on election day or in a secure (with lock or slot) U.S. mailbox.
- If you are mailing your ballot, mail it at least a week in advance. Remember that locally our mail goes to Spokane for processing.
- Check the status of your ballot at votewa.gov after you have voted and make sure it has been received and then accepted. You have until the election is certified to resolve any issues with your ballot.
Make your voice heard. Don’t let others decide what’s best for our future.
Exercise your right to vote!
(For more on how elections work in Washington State, see my October 2020 Tumbleweird column "Our Right to Vote").