It’s unfortunate that voters turned out in such small numbers on Tuesday. We can do better than the 23 percent or so turnout in the primary. Lots better.
Local voters will have another opportunity soon. There’s a general election on Nov. 6.
At a time when democracy is under assault, the citizens of America can make an important statement simply by exercising their right to vote.
It’s easy to dismiss so-called off-year elections as less important than the times in which we join together as Americans to choose members of Congress or the president. And it’s certainly understandable that many Washingtonians may have lost track of this week’s primary voting, in the midst of horrendous news for America and the world. Given the way events have unfolded, many of us are just plain confused about the day of the week. The only date that seems to stick is Sept. 11.
But elections for city, county and school board offices are very close to the foundations of America’s grand experiment in self-government. On Nov. 6, almost every local jurisdiction will make important choices about their elected officials. In addition, there are state legislative races in two Snohomish County districts, the 21st and 38th legislative districts, which will determine control of the state House of Representatives.
There will also be important initiative and referendum measures on the ballot. With a fresh perspective on our blessings as Americans, let’s wave a flag and salute initiative guru Tim Eyman. You don’t have to agree with a single measure he’s ever proposed to acknowledge that many Washingtonians have been motivated to take part in elections by his efforts.
Of course, elections themselves — no matter how few or how many the choices — are one of our main blessings. If any of us have forgotten that, perhaps there should be a bit of renewed inspiration in the story of Jessi Cleator. As a front page story reported Thursday, the Marysville woman voted on the way to the hospital to deliver a baby. "I just feel I’m upholding my rights as a U.S. citizen — I’m just doing what’s right," she said.
If she can do that, more people can bother to cast a mail ballot or make a trip to the polls on Nov. 6. It won’t hurt like childbirth. Honest. And voting will say something positive to people who are uniting against the terrorism that’s motivated by a hate for democracy and freedom.