With the Nov. 3 election around the corner, chances are you have been inundated with all sorts of claims about candidates — and about voting. Who and what should a voter believe?
Educating voters since it was founded 100 years ago, the League of Women Voters of Clark County would like to clear up some misconceptions and offer ideas about where to get unbiased information.
First off, it’s not too late to register to vote. You can register online at ClarkVotes.com through Oct. 26. Beginning Oct. 27, anyone wanting to register must do so in person at the elections office, 1408 Franklin St. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is following COVID-19 physical-distancing protocol. On Election Day, you can register and vote at the elections office until 8 p.m.
You don’t need to request a ballot. Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters starting Friday. Elections officials recommend a voter contact the office if they haven’t received a ballot by Oct. 21. Contact 564-397-2345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do your own research
The 128-page Voters’ Pamphlet, a product of the Washington Secretary of State’s office and the local elections office, will be mailed to voters prior to Oct. 16. In addition to statements by candidates for federal, state and local office, it details Referendum Measure No. 90 concerning comprehensive sexual health education, four advisory votes, and a Senate Joint Resolution. The pamphlet is available in five languages.
Online, VoteWA.gov provides that information as well as details about your registration and ballot, including when it was mailed to you and if your ballot has been received by the elections office. The Voters’ Guide on VoteWA also features links to the Public Disclosure Commission’s tracking of contributions to candidates. Go to a candidate’s page and on the bottom right, click on campaign contributions.
The League of Women Voters of the United States also has Vote411.org, a resource in English and Spanish. That site allows an individual to compare candidates’ statements, locate upcoming debates, check voter registration, and complete other functions.
Highly regarded for conducting candidate forums and debates, the league is sponsoring several events this season. A debate featuring U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and challenger Carolyn Long aired Friday live on Clark/Vancouver Television. Several forums the league sponsored, as well as the 3rd Congressional District debate, will be available via streaming on cvtv.org.
Partnering with the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, the league also will host a free online presentation at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 to explain the work of the new Charter Review Commission. You can sign up on the FVRL site at https://tinyurl.com/y5amkn2m.
Vote-by-mail is safe
In a presentation Sept. 23 hosted by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey explained vote-by-mail security.
“We have numerous controls and procedures in play to ensure ballots in Clark County and Washington state are secure,” Kimsey said. “The equipment we use to process and tabulate ballots are kept secure at multiple levels.”
Kimsey noted none of the equipment used to process ballots or tabulate election results is connected to the internet.
If you mail your ballot, send it at least a week prior to Election Day. Otherwise, plan to deposit it in one of the red drive-up ballot-drop boxes conveniently placed throughout the county. Kimsey said boxes will be in place by mid-October. Check the elections office website for locations: https://clark.wa.gov/elections/ballot-deposit-locations.
Nancy Halvorson and Jane Johnson are co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Clark County.