In Our View: Mailed Ballots Arriving

Here's everything you need to know about the Aug. 7 primary

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Well, OK, maybe this editorial doesn't contain every detail about the upcoming primary, such as who's going to win. But we suspect that, if your question isn't answered here, going to the websites below will lead you to the needed information.First, you should know that the upcoming primary is no longer upcoming. It's officially under way. While the date is listed as Aug. 7 (more than two weeks away), 235,158 ballots were mailed Wednesday by the Clark County Elections Department. Those ballots are arriving any day now — if not already — and they're ready for use.

Here are nine tips about the Aug. 7 primary:

It's important for voters to know that in most judicial races, this is not a primary but actually the decisive election. In most judicial races, any candidate who receives a majority of votes will be declared the winner, and that is almost certain to happen in two-candidate contests. In races other than the judicial races, the top two primary finalists advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

If you don't receive your ballot in the mail by Friday, July 27, contact the elections office: 360-397-2345, or visit Clark County Elections. Officials urge voters to make sure their voter registration address is up to date. You can update your address online.

Clark County's 32-page Voters' Pamphlet is a great source of information about candidates and voting. Visit the elections office website and click on the "Voters' Pamphlet Primary and Special" link.

An excellent statewide Voters' Guide is available at Washington Secretary of State.

Endorsements by The Columbian can be found on the Opinion page. Thirteen candidates in seven races are endorsed. However, we hasten to remind readers that our endorsements are strictly opinions and nothing more. We certainly don't profess to be any smarter than other voters. Columbian endorsements are not commandments; they are simply meant to stimulate thought and discussion.

There are several ways to vote: Return your ballot by mail, deliver your ballot on Aug. 7 to one of 35 secured, staffed ballot drop boxes, or — this is our favorite because it's open 24/7 — use the drive-up ballot collection box at 14th and Esther streets downtown.

Although this is known as an "all-mail" primary, that's not altogether accurate. You can still vote the old-fashioned way from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the county elections office, 1408 Franklin St. One online commenter on The Columbian's website lamented: "I really hate not having my constitutional right to exercise my right to vote by walking in somewhere and voting." Actually, you never lost that right. County Auditor Greg Kimsey says: "Feel free to come on in."

There are two races for county commissioner. No voter in Clark County will be able to vote in both contests. County commissioner candidates run only in their districts in the primary, then countywide in the general election. We like this system, because it allows candidates to appeal to a specific area in the primary (perhaps rural, perhaps urban), but in the general election, they must make themselves accountable to all of the county's voters.

Secretary of State Sam Reed is predicting a statewide turnout of 46 percent in the primary, an increase from the 43 percent average of the previous six primaries. Locally, Kimsey is predicting a 38 percent turnout, about the same as in 2008. Those percentages likely will approximately double in the Nov. 6 general election.