The Aug. 2 primary is now just two days away, but voter turnout remains sluggish. Of the 323,756 eligible voters, a little more than 50,600 ballots — or 15.5 percent — have been received by the Clark County Elections Office. Nearly a third of the ballots received came into the elections office July 25.
Despite the low numbers, Auditor Greg Kimsey said he’s still expecting a 40-45 percent voter turnout for the midterm primary.
“Every election is different,” Kimsey said.
In general, Kimsey said about a third of ballots are returned in the first four to five days, another third comes in on election day and a third “dribbles in, in between,” Kimsey said.
The primary ballot is certainly a long one. Along with U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races to weigh in on, there’s the Washington secretary of state race, state representative races for the 17th, 18th, 20th and 49th legislative districts, Clark County offices of assessor, auditor, clerk, prosecuting attorney, treasurer, sheriff and three county council positions, along with one Clark Public Utility commissioner race.
The ballot also has seven tax measures to decide. Both the La Center and Ridgefield school districts have replacement levies in the primary, while Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue and Clark County Fire Protection districts 5, 6 and 10 have property tax levies for emergency medical services and/or fire protection.
The Clark County Council sent Proposition 11 to primary voters. If passed, the 0.1 percent public safety sales tax would pay for the ongoing expenses of a body/dash camera program for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, as well as pay for jail upgrades and improvements, and to help fund the agency.
It’s not just what’s on the ballot but how long the ballot is that affects voter turnout. Kimsey said longer ballots, like this year’s, tend to be returned later.
Ballots are due to the elections office by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Aug. 2 However, Elections and the U.S. Postal Service recommend using ballot drop boxes during the final week of the election.
There are 22 permanent ballot drop boxes located throughout the county. Drop boxes are available 24 hours a day and until 8 p.m. on election day. To find the nearest drop box, go to https://clark.wa.gov/elections/ballot-deposit-locations.
If you haven’t yet registered to vote, it’s not too late to get your vote counted. Eligible voters can register in person between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 2 at the elections office, 1408 Franklin St., in Vancouver.