Primary election ballots due today

County turnout at just 19 percent as of Monday

By Lauren Dake, Columbian political writer

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Today marks the final day to check "voting" off your to-do list.

Voters have until 8 p.m. to drop off their primary election ballot or have it postmarked for mail delivery.

The first results are expected to be posted on the county's election website at about 8:15 p.m., said Cathie Garber, the county's elections supervisor.

The county is hoping for a return of at least 35 percent of ballots, but on Monday only about 19 percent of the county's registered voters had cast their ballots.

"Right now, we're a little low to make 35 percent, but it's still our hope," Garber said.

So far, 48,121 ballots have been returned.

Several states have seen record lows for voter turnout this year. Only about 40 percent of registered Washington voters are expected to return their ballots.

Although the primary has been characterized as less than exciting, several Clark County races have generated some interest. For the first time in more than two decades, local voters will choose a new sheriff this year. Today's vote will narrow the field from four candidates to two finalists.

After today, the field vying for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, will be narrowed to two. The entire 98-member state House is up for re-election, so voters have an opportunity to weigh in on who represents them in Olympia. Several local races have more than two contestants.

Under the state's top-two system, the field of candidates will be narrowed to the two candidates who garner the most votes today, regardless of party preference. The winners will be chosen in the Nov. 4 election.

For races where there are only two candidates, such as the competitive race for the 17th Legislative District, Position 1 seat between incumbent Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, and challenger Lynda Wilson, a Republican, voters will get an early look at who appears to be in the lead.

A number of precinct committee races, mostly among Republicans, will be decided in today's election.