Ready or not, voting in primary election begins this week

Voters will winnow the field for local, state and federal offices. School bonds, levies on tap too.

EVERETT — Voters, roll up your sleeves. You’ve got some work to do as the 2020 primary gets under way this week.

Ballots for the Aug. 4 election will be mailed Thursday to roughly 485,000 registered voters in Snohomish County. Also this week, the county is sending out its voter pamphlets which contain statements from candidates and information on finance measures in three area school districts.

Voters will be narrowing the field in contests for federal, state and local offices. They’ll also be deciding the fate of a $317.4 million construction bond measure in the Everett School District and levies in the Lakewood and Darrington school districts.

County Auditor Garth Fell said he is looking for a turnout of around 40 percent which would be in line with past primaries in a presidential election year.

“The role government and elected officials play in the everyday lives of our citizens and residents is more apparent than ever,” he said in a statement. “And the primary is an important step in ensuring your voice is included in the decision.”

This year’s primary features contests for 18 seats in the state Legislature that represent portions of the county.

Two of them are to fill open House seats in the 44th Legislative District, serving central Snohomish County, and in the 10th District, which encompasses Island County and slivers of Snohomish and Skagit counties.

In the former, three candidates are seeking to succeed Rep. Jared Mead, D-Mill Creek, named earlier this year to the Snohomish County Council. Five people are vying to succeed Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, who is retiring at the end of her term.

The county’s three incumbent Democratic members of Congress — Rick Larsen of Everett, Suzan DelBene of Medina and Pramila Jayapal of Seattle — are all seeking re-election.

All statewide executive jobs will be on the ballot.

Gov. Jay Inslee is pursuing a rare third term against 35 opponents. This race will consume a bunch of space on the ballot.

Another 11 candidates are dueling for lieutenant governor. The job is coming open as the current office-holder, Democratic Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, is stepping down to become a Jesuit priest.

The field includes state Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, the floor leader for the Senate Democratic Caucus; U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, who announced his retirement from Congress then joined the race after Habib made his decision; Ann Davison Sattler, a Republican who ran for the Seattle City Council in 2019; and Marty McClendon, a Republican who lost to Habib in 2016.

The two candidates who receive the most votes in each race on the ballot will advance to the Nov. 3 general election.

Every registered voter should receive a ballot by July 22, Fell said. If it does not arrive, contact the Snohomish County elections office at 425-388-3444.

Ballots returned by mail do not require any stamp but they must be postmarked no later than Aug. 4 to count. Snohomish County rejects ballots every primary due to a late postmark.

Another option is to deposit ballots in one of the county’s 29 designated drop boxes. Starting Thursday, these will be open around the clock until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

There is still time to register as a voter or update your registration. You can do it online at until July 27. Also, a person can go into the county auditor’s office on Election Day to register and vote. Same-day registration is the result of a law enacted in 2018.

Additional information on the election can be found online at or by phoning the Snohomish County elections office at 425-388-3444.

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

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