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2022 Election, vote

Editorial: Your ballot is your civics exam; turn it in today

You have access to the information you need; use it to cast your ballot and practice democracy.

By The Herald Editorial Board

You know what you have to do.

Yes, we’re talking about the election. And yes, a fair number of you already have marked and submitted your ballots. As of Monday afternoon, the Snohomish County Elections Office had received nearly 37 percent of the more than 520,000 ballots sent to registered voters for this election. You have your fellow citizens’ thanks.

Compared to the 70 percent ballot return rate in the last midterm election in 2018 and the near record 85 percent turnout for the 2020 election, that still leaves a significant number of ballots yet to be returned for an election that will determine control of Congress but also figures significantly in the state and the county regarding the makeup of the state Legislature; leadership of the county prosecutor’s office and the Snohomish Public Utility District; and a levy for the Monroe School District and levies in Stanwood and Lake Stevens and Fire District 23, near Granite Falls.

Your marked ballot is due in a drop box by 8 tonight. A list of locations for official drop boxes is available at tinyurl.com/SnoCoVote22DropBox. Ballots can also be mailed, but must be received early enough to be postmarked by today’s date.

If you’ve already submitted your ballot and want to confirm that it’s been received and accepted, go to votewa.gov/ to check your ballot status. If the status indicates a ballot has not been accepted, voters might have forgotten to sign the ballot envelope, the signature may not match county records or further identification is necessary. The county elections office is supposed to contact voters with challenged ballots to allow voters to “cure” them.

If you’re not persuaded yet that your vote is necessary, consider the arguments against the common rationalizations of those who don’t regularly vote, made by a professor of political philosophy at West Virginia University. Scott Davidson, writing for The Conversation, in a commentary published in the most recent Sunday Herald, rebuts three common excuses for not voting.

Those who claim they don’t have enough information may not be looking very hard. Information about candidates and ballot measures is readily available online, in print and through conversation. “One of the clear benefits of mail-in voting is that it gives voters more time to fill out their ballot carefully without feeling rushed,” Davidson writes.

Voters in Snohomish County can consult the local voters pamphlet — mailed to registered voters and also available online at votewa.gov/ — and a series of recorded candidate forums available at the website of the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County. The League also offers its own advice on judging candidates as well as other sources of information. The Herald Editorial Board offers its recommendations for most races on the ballot at tinyurl.com/HeraldEndorses22.

To those who protest they don’t like any of the candidates in a particular race, Davidson suggests relentlessly negative — and inescapably repetitive — campaign ads may be purposely driving low voter turnout. With a clearer objective look at available information, voters may find they can support at least some candidates and issues, if not all on the ballot.

As to the contention that there’s no difference between candidates or that their vote “just doesn’t matter,” Davidson says nonvoters are measuring the worth of voting in terms of results only and not as part of our duty as citizens. “Voting may or may not yield the outcome individuals want,” Davidson writes, “but without it, there is no democratic society.”

Voters should also keep in mind, because our state uses a mail-in ballot system it can take a few days for all ballots to be received by the elections offices throughout the state. There are likely to be a few races that are close enough that the final result won’t be known until days after Election Day. Have some patience with — and faith in — county officials and elections staff as that considerable and painstaking work is completed and authenticated.

For results, follow the latest counts and coverage in The Daily Herald and online at www.HeraldNet.com.

And when the results are announced, whether your candidates win or lose, continue your participation in the democratic process by staying informed, writing your lawmakers, and pushing for the laws and decisions that you believe are in the best interests of all.

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