EDITORIAL: Bone up on primary now

You can’t avoid the subject any longer — it’s time to bone up on the issues and candidates that will be on the primary election ballot Sept. 14.

September may seem like a long way off, and in some respects it is. But thanks to absentee ballots, election day itself is little more than a distant mirage for many voters. The actual election starts when absentee ballots are mailed out, and that will take place next week, three weeks ahead of the actual election.

Many people in Island County — more than half — will be casting their ballots next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, or any time up until the official Sept. 14 election day. That’s why early research is needed. Voting doesn’t do much good if the votes are cast in ignorance.

A good place to start is the Whidbey Island League of Voters’ Candidates Night set for Tuesday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Oak Harbor Senior Centers. Candidates from contested positions have been invited, as well as spokespeople for two important ballot measures: Central Whidbey Fire District is asking voters in its boundaries for a property tax levy increase of 10 cents per thousand; and Sno-Isle Regional Library is seeking funding for a new regional library in downtown Oak Harbor, as well as creation of a North Whidbey library district outlining who will pay for the $12 million library at approximately 34 cents per thousand.

Meanwhile, the Whidbey News-Times will be running stories on candidates and issues well before Sept. 14, to give absentee voters as much information as possible before they cast their ballots.

Absentee primary voters will also have to prepare themselves for a new style of voting, thanks to court-ordered election changes. No longer will you receive one ballot: There will be four, only one of which you can use. The ballot itself will likely require more study than some of the issues being voted on.

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