Few rituals are as inherently private as voting. Rule one of casual chatter or supper with the in-laws is to sidestep politics. Fine people will vote the wrong way, we tell ourselves. The variable is knowledge.
A “low-information voter” is the contemporary term for folks who champion causes and vote for candidates with a limited understanding of policy fallout. It’s a patronizing descriptor, since we’re all subject to low information. Who has time to dig into issue briefs and ask 20 questions?
Summer homework is required. The Snohomish County Auditor’s office mails a local voters’ pamphlet July 17 and primary ballots are sent out the following day. The pamphlet is the best antidote for low-information sufferers. Candidates only have so much space to shoehorn their message. No vision, no vote.
Voters experiencing low-information anxiety also are encouraged to hold on to their ballots as long as necessary. Candidates evolve or backpedal, rise to the occasion, or crumble under the klieg lights. Patience in voting is a virtue.
Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel notes that Monday was the last day to register to vote by mail, online or to transfer an existing registration to a new address for the upcoming Aug. 6 primary election. Those who’ve never registered to vote in Washington may register through July 29, but must do so in person at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, 3000 Rockefeller Ave, Everett.
The primary election date should align with human nature, and these are languid, sun-dappled days when politics, like winter, seems like another country.
Washington’s primary was moved from September to late August to provide county auditors more turnaround time for recounts and ballot printing. Then came the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act that mandated overseas military personnel receive their ballots no less than 45 days prior to a federal election. Primary day migrated from just-returning-from-vacation late August to call-me-in-late-August early August.
Moving the primary to late spring (June 1, for example) would be a pragmatic solution to the quandary of low turnout, accommodating Washington’s hyper-professional auditors while enshrining the voting rights of military service members. The one obstacle is, alas, political. State lawmakers, barred from raising money 30 days prior to the legislative session, fear not having sufficient time to dial for campaign dinero and hold back political challengers. Sigh.
There are several key primaries this year, including the race for Snohomish County Council District 1, and mayoral races in Lynnwood and Mukilteo. Vote or forever hold your whines.