The last presidential election was 1,455 days ago. In that time, the country saw a sweeping tax cut, sustained protests, three Supreme Court appointments, an impeachment and a pandemic. Americans watched their economy roar, then take a COVID-19 nosedive, and partially recover even as the virus continues to spread.
Through it, Southwest Washington hung on as one of the last enclaves for Republicans on the West Coast, beating back the blue wave that swept across much of the rest of the country.
Historically, individual Washington counties don’t have much of a say in presidential politics. Though swing counties like Clark might go for Donald Trump or Joseph Biden, Washington’s 12 Electoral College votes will almost certainly be blue.
But the impact of the presidential race will likely trickle down-ballot — the way Clark County residents cast their votes in congressional, state Legislature and even countywide races may well serve as a referendum on Trump’s first term.
It’s there, in those down-ballot races, that local voters will see a more direct impact of their ballot.
The congressional election is a rematch. Carolyn Long, a Democrat and professor of constitutional law at Washington State University Vancouver, is mounting her second challenge to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground.
Most political pundits classify the 3rd Congressional District as a “Lean Republican” district, and forecasting website FiveThirtyEight gives Herrera Beutler an 83 percent chance of hanging on to her seat.
The congresswoman — who has the distinction of being both the only Republican House member still representing a district bordering the Pacific Ocean, and the only Republican woman of color in either chamber of Congress — won the district by around 16,000 votes in 2018.
In the Statehouse, the 17th, 18th and 49th Legislative Districts could also see a shakeup after Election Day.
Notably, seats in the 17th Legislative District may be competitive this year, though the region had previously been a fairly solid Republican country since 2012.
At the county level, a race for Clark County Council in District 3 between staunch conservative Karen Bowerman and liberal Democrat Jesse James will likely come down to who can court independent and moderate voters.
Track your ballot
Voters who have already returned their ballots can check its status by visiting voter.votewa.gov, logging into the voter portal with their name and birthday and clicking on the “Ballot Status” link on the far left side of the page. If their ballot is marked as “accepted,” it’s good to go.
If you’re registered to vote, but never got your ballot, it’s not too late. You can vote in-person at the county elections office, or get a replacement ballot online.
“You can go online and print out your ballot online at votewa.gov. Make sure you complete the entire package, including singing the oath that’s part of the package. You have to get that to a ballot drop box or postmarked by (today),” Kimsey said.
For those who still need to register to vote: Registration remains open in-person at the county elections office through 8 p.m. today. You’ll need to provide your name, date of birth, mailing and residential address, and either your driver’s license/state identification number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.