Ballots will be mailed Thursday for Aug. 7 primary election

Participation could creep higher this year because voters, for the first time, won’t need stamps.

EVERETT — Voting in the 2018 primary gets under way this week.

Ballots for the Aug. 7 election will be mailed Thursday to roughly 450,000 registered voters in Snohomish County.

County Auditor Carolyn Weikel said she is looking for a turnout of around 35 percent, which would be typical for a midterm primary in a nonpresidential election cycle.

But participation could creep higher because voters, for the first time, will be able to mail in their ballots without stamps. The state is providing taxpayer-funded grants to most counties to cover postage for the primary and general elections in 2018.

“We don’t know what is going to happen,” Weikel said. “Will turnout be higher because people do take advantage of the opportunity? Or will it be the same because the people who traditionally turn out in such primaries will do so any way?”

In Snohomish County, voters will be considering candidates for 27 local, state and federal offices, and in most of those races they will be deciding which two hopefuls will advance to the Nov. 6 general election. Nine local measures also populate the ballot.

The most contested contest, by far, is for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell is seeking a fourth term and drew 28 opponents.

Among them is Susan Hutchison, the former chairwoman of the Washington State Republican Party and four men from Snohomish County — Mike Luke, of Lynnwood, a Libertarian who ran for the same office in 2016; James Robert Deal, of Lynnwood, a Green Party member who ran for governor in 2016 and Snohomish County executive in 2014; Tim Owen, of Mukilteo, a Republican, and George Kalberer, of Everett, a Democrat.

For the state Legislature, there are 14 seats in the House of Representatives and another five in the Senate representing Snohomish County on this year’s ballot.

One of the biggest vacancies to fill is in the 39th District in the northeast region of Snohomish County.

House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, is retiring. Republicans Randy Hayden, of Darrington, and Robert Sutherland, of Monroe, and Democrat Ivan Lewis are competing to succeed him.

And, in the same district, Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, is up against four opponents as he tries to retain the seat to which he was appointed in January. He will face former state lawmaker Elizabeth Scott, a Republican from Monroe; Claus Joens, a Democrat from Marblemount; and Jamal Rabieh, an independent from Burlington.

In south Snohomish County, incumbent Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Lynnwood, is facing an aggressive challenge from a fellow Democrat, Jesse Salomon, who is deputy mayor of Shoreline. James Wood, a Republican from Edmonds, is also running.

In Everett, a City Council seat is on the ballot.

Councilwoman Ethel McNeal wants to keep the seat to which she was appointed in January. She has two opponents — Liz Vogeli and Tyler Rourke, who lost out to McNeal for the appointment.

Pamphlets containing candidate statements and information on the measures were to be mailed to voters Wednesday.

Those wishing to register to vote in this election must do so in person by July 30 at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett.

For more information, contact the county elections office at 425-388-3444.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

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