Editorial: Primary election is worth a vote

Island County’s primary election that finishes Aug. 17 is important, so voters should make sure they participate and get their ballots in on time.

Voters will decide Proposition 1, which would raise the county property tax levy, and they will decide the two finalists for Island County clerk. The other local races are “beauty contests,” not affecting which candidates advance to the general election, but even these contests can be interesting. Island Commissioner John Dean, a Democrat not shy about raising fees and imposing costly new septic system regulations on all rural islanders, is being challenged by anti-tax Republican Kelly Emerson, a Tea Party activist. Although both are assured a place on the November ballot, it will be fascinating to see how many votes Emerson attracts in the primary. If it’s a lot, none of the three commissioners can rest easy in the coming months and years.

It will also be interesting to see how Rep. Barb Bailey, a Republican, does against Tom Riggs, an Camano Island Democrat and forest ranger. Likewise for Rep. Norma Smith, a Clinton Republican. She appeared to have a free ride through the primary until Stanwood resident Laura Lewis announced a belated write-in campaign. Good luck with that, because all incumbents deserve a challenger in the general election.

With such interesting races at stake, voters should remember to return the ballots that have been sitting around the house for two weeks. Lots of people still hate mail-in elections, but there’s no choice. Mail back your ballot no later than election day, Aug. 17, and make sure it arrives at the post office early enough to be postmarked that day. Alternatively, for those who resent having to pay for a stamp to vote, drop off your ballot at the Island County Elections Office, 400 N. Main St., Coupeville; the Camano Island Annex, 121 N. East Camano Drive, Camano Island; Oak Harbor School District Administrative Building, 350 S. Oak Harbor St., Oak Harbor; or Trinity Lutheran Church, 18341 Highway 525, Freeland.

With these alternatives, voting is easier than ever. Make sure your voice is heard on election day, even if August seems like a strange time to have an election.

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