Ballots for the Nov. 5 general election will be mailed Thursday. (Washington Secretary of State)

Ballots for the Nov. 5 general election will be mailed Thursday. (Washington Secretary of State)

Voters, get out your ink pens. Ballots are coming this week.

At stake are an affirmative action law, a car tab initiative and a seat on Snohomish County Council

EVERETT — Political commercials are airing and online ads are running which can only mean one thing — an election is coming.

Actually, it’s here.

Ballots for the Nov. 5 general election will be mailed Thursday to 470,000 registered voters in Snohomish County.

Also this week, the county is sending them voters’ pamphlets with photos and statements of candidates competing for seats on school boards, fire commissions, city councils and the County Council.

The state has its own pamphlet in the county. It contains analyses of Referendum 88, dealing with affirmative action, and Initiative 976, dealing with the cost of annual vehicle registrations, or car tabs. There also are photos and statements for candidates in two judicial races, and a bunch of pages devoted to 10 nonbinding advisory votes concerning new tax laws passed this year by the Legislature.

Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel is predicting a turnout of 42% in the final election she will oversee before leaving office due to term limits.

She thinks the presidential campaign is already stirring up the electorate. And new state laws will make it easier for new voters to cast a ballot. If she’s right in her prediction, it will be a marked improvement from the 32.7% tallied two years ago and 34.8% recorded in 2015.

“Local elections matter — yet too many of us sit on the sidelines in these non-presidential elections,” she said Tuesday. “The candidates we elect will help run our county, cities and other local districts and shape policy that will impact our community for years to come. Let your voice be heard and vote.”

One of the most closely watched races in Snohomish County is between Democrat Megan Dunn and Republican Anna Rohrbough for the District 2 seat on the County Council.

Dunn, of Everett, is a community organizer. Rohrbough, a leadership coach, is an elected member of the Mukilteo City Council. The two agree on very little.

Voters will be choosing a new treasurer and auditor for Snohomish County. They’ll also be deciding whether Sheriff Ty Trenary gets another term or if sheriff’s Sgt. Adam Fortney will take the helm of the department for the next four years.

The mayor’s job is on ballots in Arlington, Lake Stevens, Sultan, Edmonds, Marysville and Darrington. And in Mukilteo, voters will decide if they want to keep directly electing a mayor to run the city or restructure how the city is managed.

Dozens of city council and school board seats are being contested. And potential bans on fireworks in Arlington and in some unincorporated areas of the county are the subject of non-binding advisory measures.

It’s not too late to register and participate in this election.

This is the first general election in which a person will be able to go into any county election office in Washington on Nov. 5, register to vote, get a ballot and cast it. Same-day registration is the result of a law enacted in 2018. The primary marked the first time it was in effect.

Another change in law allows a person to register online or by mail until Oct. 28, which is eight days before the election. The old cut-off deadline was 29 days prior to an election.

Ballots returned by mail do not require any stamp as the postage will be paid by the state. But they must be postmarked no later than Nov. 5 to count. Snohomish County rejected 1,271 ballots in the primary due to a late postmark.

Another option is to deposit ballots in one of the county’s 22 designated drop boxes. These are open around the clock until 8 p.m. Election Day.

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

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

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