Editor’s note: This editorial has been corrected to reflect that The Columbian recommends a “no” vote on I-976.
Odd-year elections are easy to overlook. In Washington, the quadrennial presidential election is accompanied by races for governor and other state executives, along with Congress and the Legislature. Midterm elections such as last year’s are marked by more contests for lawmakers.
But with ballots being mailed today and with Election Day being Nov. 5, we take this opportunity to remind voters of the importance of odd-year elections for positions such as city councils and school boards. While the choices of a president and lawmakers warrant attention, in many ways the contests on this year’s ballot will have a bigger impact on our daily lives. As the saying goes, all politics is local.
Ballots may be mailed (no postage due) or dropped off at an official ballot box. For more information, visit the Clark County Elections page online.
Councilors elected this year will help determine how your city deals with growth, local tax rates and how those taxes are spent, and how homelessness is addressed. There also is a race for the seat from District 4 on the Clark County Council, which will impact all residents of the county.
Meanwhile, the school board races will help determine local bonds, teacher salaries, and even which books your children read.
In addition, there are several statewide ballot measures, including Initiative 976, which deals with the cost of vehicle tabs.
Each item on the ballot is important, yet getting voters to recognize that can be difficult. In the 2017 election, 31 percent of registered Clark County voters turned in a ballot; statewide, turnout was 37 percent. In other words, most Washingtonians were comfortable with letting other people decide how their local governments and schools are managed.
We hope turnout is higher this year, and we encourage voters to become informed about the candidates and the issues before casting a ballot. To assist with that, The Columbian’s Editorial Board has been publishing recommendations on various races over the past several weeks.
As we always note, these are merely recommendations, and we encourage voters to read our reasoning behind each choice. Whether or not you agree with our opinions, democracy depends on you casting a ballot.
Here is a recap of the editorial board’s recommendations for notable races on this year’s ballot:
• Referendum Measure 88: Approved.
• Initiative Measure 976: We strongly recommend a “no” vote.
• Advisory votes 20-31: These votes are nonbinding and, therefore, a waste of time. We recommend that you ignore them.
• Senate Joint Resolution 8200: Approved.
• Clark County Council, Dist. 4: Gary Medvigy is the clear choice.
• Vancouver City Council, Pos. 2: Erik Paulsen is the clear choice.
• Vancouver City Council, Pos. 5: Ty Stober.
• Vancouver City Council, Pos. 6: Sarah Fox.
• Evergreen school board, Dist. 2: Rob Perkins. Bethany Rivard also is a strong candidate.
• Evergreen school board, Dist. 4: Divya Jain. Rachael Rogers also is a worthy candidate.
• Vancouver school board, Pos. 1: Kyle Sproul.
• Vancouver school board, Pos. 4: Kathy Decker, although Lisa Messer is equally qualified.
• Vancouver school board, Pos. 5: Tracie Burrows. Chris Lewis also is a strong candidate.
• Port of Vancouver commissioner, Dist. 3: Jack Burkman is the clear choice.
• City of Vancouver charter amendments: We recommend a “yes” vote on each of seven proposals.