EVERETT — Ballots will arrive at thousands of Snohomish County addresses this week, marking the start of the final stage of the year’s premier political event.
Roughly 505,000 registered voters in the county are eligible to participate in the Nov. 8 general election. Ballots will be mailed to them Thursday. Most should have already received a pamphlet containing information on candidates and ballot measures.
They also will be deciding the fate of critical tax measures in Lake Stevens, Monroe and Stanwood.
Countywide, a turnout of roughly 71% is anticipated.
“We have a model elections system in Washington state that provides both convenient access for voters and secure, accurate ballot counting processes,” county Auditor Garth Fell said. “I encourage every voter in Snohomish County to participate in the Nov. 8 midterm elections knowing their vote will count in this important election.”
Among the more closely watched races are ones involving Republican state lawmakers.
In the 39th Legislative District, Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, a two-term incumbent, is up against Republican Sam Low, a Snohomish County Council member who lives in Lake Stevens, a new part of the district due to redistricting. This district is comprised of areas in Snohomish and Skagit counties.
And in the 10th District, Rep. Greg Gilday, R-Camano Island, faces an uphill battle against Democratic challenger Clyde Shavers, of Oak Harbor. Shavers beat Gilday in the August primary. Independent p0litical committees are spending tens of thousands to influence voters.
Meanwhile, voters in Stanwood and Lake Stevens are considering earmarking a portion of sales tax to pay for transportation projects. In Stanwood, they would be extending an existing tax. In Lake Stevens, it’s a new tax.
In the Monroe School District, voters will be asked again to renew a four-year levy for education programs and operations. The measure would provide $15.9 million in 2023 and $69 million over four years at a tax rate that would be about a penny less than the current rate. When the district put it on the ballot in February, voters said no.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is bidding for a sixth term, which would match the number of the state’s legendary Democratic senator Warren Magnuson. Republican Tiffany Smiley is aggressively campaigning against Murray.
Three incumbent Democratic members of Congress — Rick Larsen, of Everett, Suzan DelBene, of Medina, and Kim Schrier, of Sammamish — are seeking re-election.
Larsen, who is seeking a 12th term, faces Republican Dan Matthews of Mukilteo, a man he defeated in the 2012 election. DelBene, who is pursuing a sixth term, is challenged by Republican Vincent Cavaleri, a Mill Creek City Council member and deputy sheriff.
Schrier represents the 8th Congressional District, which gained smaller communities along U.S. 2 in east Snohomish County through redistricting. Republican Matt Larkin of Woodinville is trying to unseat her after outpolling two other well-known GOP hopefuls in the primary.
Ballots can be placed in any of the county’s 35 designated drop boxes. Or they can be mailed without a stamp. Ballot-return envelopes must be postmarked no later than Nov. 8. Every election, ballots are not counted because they arrive too late. The U.S. Postal Service recommends mailing them at least a week before Election Day.
There is still time to register as a voter or to update your registration.
You can do it online at vote.wa.gov until Oct. 31. A person can go into the county auditor’s office until 8 p.m. on Election Day to register and vote. Same-day registration is the result of a law enacted in 2018.
If you do not receive a ballot by Oct. 26, contact the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office at 425-388-3444.