Washington’s 2011 primary election season culminates with a fast-approaching deadline tomorrow. Secretary of State Sam Reed urged voters not to wait until the 11th hour, but to get their ballots in so they are definitely counted.
For the past two weeks, voters have been returning ballots in the state’s first election since lawmakers officially switched the state entirely to vote-by-mail. The postmark deadline is tomorrow and drop-off sites and county offices close for voting at 8 p.m.
It’s the first election since lawmakers approved a bill making Washington a full vote-by-mail state, joining Oregon as America’s first state to vote without regular poll sites. Pierce County, the last holdout for poll-site voting for a dwindling number of their residents, made the switch to mail balloting this summer and has been spreading the word to voters.
There are no statewide primaries this year. The primaries for statewide office, including open races for governor, attorney general and secretary of state, will be next year, and that’s when the U.S. Senate, 10 U.S. House races, and many legislative, judicial and other contests will be on the ballot.
All told, the state Elections Division calculates that about 78 percent of the state’s registered voters, or about 2.86 million, received primary ballots.
Washington State’s chief elections official, Secretary Sam Reed said: “Local government truly is the government closest to the people and those whom we elect will be making exceptionally important decisions in the days to come. We ask that every eligible citizen to cast ballots. Your vote truly is your voice, and you deserve to be heard."