Last day to turn in primary ballots

Today’s primary election will narrow the field in several legislative races, determine the outcome of some judicial duels and be the source of speculation in the battle for governor.

About 46 percent of the state’s 3.4 million eligible voters are predicted to participate in the first-ever primary in which the two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election, regardless of their political affiliation.

Snohomish County is also anticipating 46 percent of its 351,000 registered voters will turn out.

As of Monday, 70,334 ballots, or 20 percent, had been returned.

While participation is slightly lighter than expected to this point, a steady flow of voters are depositing ballots at drop-off sites around the county, Snohomish County elections manager Garth Fell said Monday.

“Everything is going according to plan,” he said. “We would just encourage people to get out and participate. If they haven’t voted yet, they still have time.”

Snohomish County is one of 37 counties where voting is by mail. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked no later than today in order to be counted.

From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, voters can drop off ballots at a collection site. Or they can cast votes on electronic touch-screen machines set up in branches of the Sno-Isle Library system and the Everett Public Library.

The county elections office also will accept ballots and have voting machines available.

In the race for governor, Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi should emerge as the top two. Both candidates will be eyeing the vote totals for signs of their respective areas of strength and weakness.

Statewide contests for superintendent of public instruction, secretary of state, treasurer, lieutenant governor, auditor and insurance commissioner all will see the number of competitors reduced as a result of the primary.

In the four-way competition for the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., is expected to advance. It could be close for the runner-up between Republican Rick Bart and Democrats Doug Schaffer and Glen Johnson.

Voters could alter the make-up of the state Supreme Court, where a candidate who garners more than 50 percent will win.

Justice Mary Fairhurst is challenged by Michael Bond and Justice Charles Johnson faces two opponents, Frank Vulliet and James Beecher.

In Snohomish County, voters will decide whether Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas keeps his job or if David Hulbert gets his back. In 2004, Hulbert served on the bench until losing the election to Lucas.

Snohomish County election results will be posted at www.snoco.org.

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