Don’t let others speak for you

Before you toss that pile of junk mail into the recycling bin, you might want to go through it one more time. Your primary-election ballot could be in it.

It’s not something you’re used to looking for in August. This is only the second election cycle since the Legislature moved the primary from September to August, an effort primarily to ensure there’s enough time to get general election ballots to voters overseas, including those serving in uniform.

This is the year for local elections — mayors, city councils, school boards, etc. — which tend to have the biggest impact on voters’ everyday lives and their neighborhoods. Regrettably, such elections also tend to draw far fewer voters than, say, a presidential or gubernatorial election. A handful of news stories and a few scattered yard signs just don’t generate as much excitement as televised debates and glitzy TV ads.

With fewer ballots submitted, though, yours constitutes a bigger piece of the total. There are sure to be some very close races — ties have even occurred here. Think about how hard you’ll be kicking yourself if that happens in one of your local races and you didn’t vote.

Before you mark your ballot and mail it in, take the time to ensure you’re casting an informed vote. Resources include the county voters’ pamphlet that you should have received in the mail, and the voters’ guide published in Sunday’s Herald. (Both are also available online.)

In the coming days, this editorial board will offer endorsements in three high-profile primary races: mayoral contests in Monroe and Lynnwood, and the four-way race for the District 5 (east county) seat on the Snohomish County Council. For each race, we’ll identify the two candidates we think are most worthy of advancing to the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Take them as they’re intended: as just one piece of information among many for voters to consider.

In any event, don’t let your neighbors speak for you by sitting out this primary. Make your voice heard. Mark your ballot and send it in by Aug. 18.

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