Opinion

Island County primary vote is important | Editorial

Word is out from the auditor’s office that voter turnout is low this year, as measured by the number of mail-in ballots returned to date by Island County voters.

Apparently, many ballots mailed out three weeks ago are still sitting around the house, perhaps on the kitchen table, on the mantle or on top of the refrigerator.

True, this isn’t the time one traditionally thinks of voting in a primary election. The sun is finally shining, the beaches are calling, the ferry lines are interminable. Voting is something we usually associate with the start of school, autumn or when there are still a few pieces of Halloween candy to be found under the couch.

Due to legislative action, meant in part to make it easier for military forces overseas to vote, this is the earliest primary ever held in Washington state. But this doesn’t mean it’s not important.

In Island County, for example, emergency services is depending on voters to continue its levy so the ambulances can keep operating as needed, night and day. There are very competitive races for Island County commissioner in both District 1, covering South and Central Whidbey, and District 2, covering the Oak Harbor area. Only the top two-voters in each district will advance to the general election in November, so it’s important to pick the right ones.

One danger of low voter turnout is that only the “true believers” in each major party take the trouble to vote, tending to support the more extreme candidates on each side. It’s extremely important that everyone vote so the majority in the middle can assure that the choices in November are candidates who are sensible and reasonable, not extreme, regardless of their party affiliation.

People always complain about their elected officials, but often don’t bother to do their part is making sure we have the best elected officials possible. The only way to do that is by participating in the democratic process by casting your ballot.

So regardless of the timing, blow the dust off your primary ballot, open the envelope, mark your choices and make sure it’s postmarked no later than next Tuesday, Aug. 7. If you don’t, you’ll have no right to complain about the outcome.

 

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