Ballots due for Tuesday's primary election

Turnout likely to fall short of original projection of 38 percent

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: August 7, 2012, 12:24 PM

 

Initial primary election returns

Check The Columbian by 8:30 p.m.

Ballots are due by 8 p.m. for Tuesday's vote-by-mail primary election.

The election narrows the candidate field to the top two candidates in county commissioner races, legislative races and statewide races, including the race for governor.

Judicial races and precinct committee officer races are decided in the primary election rather than in the Nov. 6 general election.

As of Monday, the Clark County Elections Department has received nearly 18 percent of the more than 234,000 ballots it sent to voters. The department had originally predicted a voter turnout of 38 percent.

"We strongly suspect that we're not going to get there," Clark County Elections Supervisor Tim Likness said on Monday, adding that he now expects about a 30 percent turnout. The turnout could be lower than expected because the primary is taking place a couple weeks earlier than it has in previous years, and because the voters pamphlet sent to Clark County voters for the primary election did not include statements from candidates in statewide races.

For voters who have yet to send in their ballot, Likness encourages them to use one of the 35 drop-off locations throughout the county rather than sending them in the mail. Dropping it in the mail on Tuesday doesn't necessarily guarantee a Tuesday postmark.

"If they miss the mail carrier, then (the carrier) won't pick it up until Wednesday," Likness said. "It will be too late."

Drop-off locations are listed on each ballot, and include one on Franklin Street, a half block east of the Clark County Elections Department, which is at 1408 Franklin St., Vancouver. Drop-off locations are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.

Voters don't have to choose a candidate in every race on their ballot, Likness said, although he encourages them to try to vote in all races.

"You don't have to vote the whole ballot," he said, but "all the races will be for candidates that affect them one way or another."

For Clark County residents, the ballot includes the U.S. House race in the 3rd District.

Clark County voters also could see races for Clark County Public Utilities District commissioner or races for Clark County Board of Commissioners if the voters live in the districts where those races are taking place. Candidates for those offices run by district in the primary and countywide in the general election.

To save money, the Secretary of State's office did not produce a primary pamphlet for statewide races this year, but the office did make that information available on its website.

For people who find that online voters guide difficult to maneuver, the Clark County Elections Department has taken pamphlet information on statewide races and created a printable version on its website. Click the "State Candidates Statements" link to access that document.

Voters with questions or concerns can call the county's election department at 360-397-2345 or email the department at elections@clark.wa.gov.