EVERETT — A half-million voters in Snohomish County begin deciding this week who they want as leaders of their cities, school districts, fire commissions and the county.
Ballots for the Nov. 2 election will be mailed Thursday to 495,000 registered voters. Every household will also receive separate state and local voters’ pamphlets with photos and statements of candidates, and information on a handful of non-binding advisory measures.
Decisions will be made for more than 170 local government offices, but history shows less than half of the eligible voting population will cast ballots.
“I know we can do better!” Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell said in a statement.
Mayoral races in Mukilteo, Snohomish and Lynnwood are among the most intriguing contests.
In Mukilteo, Mayor Jennifer Gregerson faces the man she unseated from the office, Joe Marine, who now serves on the City Council.
Snohomish Mayor John Kartak, whose first term has been marred by controversy stirred by the presence of armed vigilantes on a downtown street in 2020, is challenged by City Council President Linda Redmon.
And in Lynnwood, where Mayor Nicola Smith chose not to seek another term, two colleagues on the City Council, Jim Smith and Christine Frizzell, are dueling to succeed her.
History will be made in Everett, where voters will choose five City Council members by districts for the first time.
Three incumbent Snohomish County Council members are up for re-election, and seats on city councils will be filled across the county. There’s also a large number of contested races for seats on school boards, where mandates for masks and vaccines have ignited sometimes-bitter discourse at public board meetings.
Meantime, voters in Lake Stevens are asked if they want to outlaw the possession, sale and discharge of consumer fireworks within city limits.
An advisory measure on the ballot in Mukilteo poses this question: “Do you think the City should encourage more high density housing to be built in Mukilteo?”
Ballots returned by mail do not require a stamp. But they must be postmarked no later than Nov. 2. Be sure to check the last collection time on the postal box, because ballots that arrive with a postmark after Election Day will not be counted.
Another option is to use one of the county’s 32 designated ballot drop boxes. These will be open around the clock until 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.
A person can register or update an existing registration online at www.votewa.gov or by mail through Oct. 25. After that, a person can register as well as vote in person at the county elections office during business hours and until 8 p.m. on the day of the election.