The early returns show lots of returns. Ballots for Tuesday’s election were mailed to voters more than two weeks ago, and a count by Clark County officials reveals that an unusually high percentage have been filled out and sent back.
A couple factors could be in play here. One is that ballots include prepaid postage for the first time in a general election, meaning no stamp is needed to return your vote through the mail. Another is that there might be renewed interest in the democratic process.
We hope there is, indeed, increased interest and that the people are seizing control of our representative democracy. During the last midterm election, in 2014, 50.6 percent of registered voters in Clark County participated. Many thousands more of otherwise eligible residents did not even bother to register.
Having about one-third of county residents make decisions that affect all of us is no way to run a democracy. We hope that voters are more interested in learning about the candidates and the issues before exercising their constitutional right this time around. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
Ballots must be postmarked or dropped off by Tuesday in order to be counted, and a list of collection boxes can be found on the Clark County website. While early returns offer hope for increased participation this year, The Columbian’s Editorial Board realizes there still are plenty of procrastinators out there. So, for those who have not yet filled out a ballot, we repeat our recommendations for voters.
As always, these are merely recommendations. And for those viewing this list online, we have included links to editorials supporting our position and videos of interviews with candidates. Perhaps you will agree, perhaps not. The important thing is to become informed and then fill out and return your ballot. Our democracy depends on it.
• Initiative 1631 (Carbon fee): No.
• Initiative 1634 (Grocery taxes): No.
• Initiative 1639 (Gun control): No.
• Initiative 940 (Use of police force): No.
• Advisory vote 19 (Oil spills): Maintained.
• U.S. Senator: Maria Cantwell (D) is the clear choice.
• Clark County Assessor: Peter Van Nortwick (R).
• Clark County Councilor, District 2: Julie Olson (R) is the clear choice.
• State Supreme Court: Susan Owens, Steve Gonzalez, Sheryl Gordon McCloud.