EVERETT — Let the voting begin.
Ballots for the Nov. 7 election will be mailed Thursday to the roughly 452,000 registered voters in Snohomish County who will be choosing members of city councils, school boards, fire commissions and a majority on the County Council.
“Your vote in this year’s general election helps choose the leaders who will determine the taxes we pay and services we receive from our cities, schools and other local districts,” said Garth Fell, Snohomish County’s elections and recording manager. “It takes just a few minutes to make a lasting impact on our community.”
Secretary of State Kim Wyman delivered a similar message in the statewide voter pamphlet.
“Voter participation data in our state shows many people only vote in the presidential election every four years. But often the decisions made in a non-presidential election year like this are more likely to impact your daily life,” she wrote in the guide mailed to households across the state.
In Snohomish County, one of the marquee contests is in Everett where voters are choosing a new mayor.
Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy, both members of the City Council, are vying to succeed retiring Mayor Ray Stephanson, who has held the job since 2003. Businessman Gary Watts is attempting to win the job as a write-in candidate.
Three of the five Snohomish County Council members are seeking to keep their seats.
Democrat Councilman Terry Ryan faces Republican Marcus Barton in the Council District 4, Republican Councilman Sam Low is up against Democrat Kristin Kelly in District 5 and Republican Councilman Nate Nehring is dueling Democrat Ray Miller in District 1.
Residents in the city of Snohomish will be directly electing a mayor after voters there changed the city’s form of government. They also will be picking several council members and weighing in on whether to lift a ban on marijuana retailers in the city limits.
In Mukilteo, controversial aerospace executive Peter Zieve is trying to unseat the president of the City Council, Bob Champion. There is also a ballot measure to increase the city’s sales tax to generate money for transportation projects.
While there are no statewide initiatives for the first time since the 1980s, there are three non-binding tax advisory measures.
Voted ballots must be returned or postmarked by Election Day. They can be placed postage-free in one of the county’s 14 permanent drop boxes. In addition, a mobile drop box van will be at the Darrington IGA on Nov. 6 and at Twin Lakes Park near Smokey Point on Election Day.
In Island County, election officials sent ballots to its nearly 55,000 registered voters on Tuesday.
There are seven drop boxes in the county, including a new one in Langley. It is near the entrance to the Langley Post Office on 2nd Street, across the street from Langley City Hall.
If you do not receive a ballot or have questions about the election, call 425-388-3444 in Snohomish County or 360-679-7366 in Island County.