Primary focuses on local issues

No statewide races or issues are on Tuesday’s ballot

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Local angle

It’s the third Tuesday in August, which is now Washington’s primary election day — and the last chance to mail or deliver your ballot.

Not sure you’ll get it postmarked in time? There are 20 ballot boxes across the county. Deposit locations, open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., are listed on Page 4 of the Clark County voters’ pamphlet. (For more information, telephone 360-397-2345 or visit http://www.clarkvotes.com).

About half of the county’s registered voters received mail ballots for this round. Many other residents have no measures or races where more than two candidates are jostling to see who will square off in the Nov. 8 general election.

Another 1,443 ballots were received by elections officials on Monday, raising the total received to date to 20,263, out of 113,096 ballots mailed in late July.

For results, see http://www.columbian.com Tuesday night. Initial figures are expected by about 8:30 p.m.

OLYMPIA — Seattle’s decade-long debate over how to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct may be settled Tuesday, as voters decide whether to move ahead with a deep-bore tunnel.

That referendum stands as the most prominent issue in Washington’s scattered primary elections, which are dominated by local issues. No statewide races or measures will be on Tuesday’s ballot, but many voters will decide their candidates for mayor, school board, city council and other positions.

About 20 percent of Washington voters do not have an election to decide Tuesday, and Secretary of State Sam Reed said he expects the areas that do have races will see low turnout. Still, he encouraged participation.

“These are very important races,” Reed said. “They so directly affect people’s lives. It’s their homes, neighborhoods, streets, parks and schools.”

State and local officials are already poised to move ahead with the proposed $2 billion Highway 99 tunnel in Seattle. Voters will not directly approve or reject the tunnel, but they are essentially deciding whether the city council has the authority to green light the project. Voter approval would allow the project to go ahead while a rejection, encouraged by environmentalists concerned about pollution, would complicate the process.

Votes of interest

A variety of other local races will be closely watched around the state:

• In Bellingham, candidates for mayor have battled over the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront and a proposal to build a nearby terminal that would export coal.

• In Olympia, candidates are debating the best ways to attract people to downtown, such as how to improve public safety and draw businesses.

• In Spokane, Mayor Mary Verner is hoping a primary victory will set the stage for her re-election. A mayor of the city hasn’t won a second term in decades.

Ballots for the primary election must be postmarked Tuesday, or voters can take their ballots to drop-off sites by 8 p.m.

This is the first all-mail voting election in the state. Pierce County was the last to provide poll voting but has now made the switch to mail ballots.