Thursday, August 14, 2008

Have We Mentioned That the Primary Election is Tuesday, August 19?

Hopefully you know by now that the date of the state primary election is Tuesday, August 19. That's in four days.

Most voters will cast mail-in ballots, and those ballots must be postmarked no later than Aug. 19 to be valid. So you've only got a couple of days left to get it in the mail if, like me, your ballot is still sitting on your kitchen counter. (Note: You can also drop your ballot off at locations designated by your county auditor.)

King and Pierce are the only counties in the state that still offer traditional polling places for voters who haven't signed up to vote by mail. King County polling sites can be found here. Pierce County polling sites can be found here.

If you live in one of the 37 counties that are voting entirely by mail, and you have not received a ballot, then there is something wrong with your voter registration -- and you'll need to get that fixed if you want your voice to be heard in the general election. The good news is you can register to vote online. You can also check your voter status.

The August primary is brand new, and I believe a lot of voters are going to be caught by surprise. Further complicating everything is that our primary election has changed yet again. This year's model is the "Top Two" primary. And, depending on what happens with ongoing litigation, it could be different again next year. All these changes are going to leave most voters confused. But not you. You're on top of it because you read the WFSE Political Blog!

Political pundits will be pontificating about the meaning of the election returns in the gubernatorial campaign, but the primary is really most important for judicial races (some of which will be decided on Tuesday) and down-ballot offices. It may not be glamorous, but your vote makes a difference to a lot of people.

If you're still looking for information about the candidates, the official WFSE endorsement list is a great place to start. To learn more about the candidates for local judicial seats click on your county at And, some local county auditors publish their own primary election voter guides.

As far as the speculation on the governor's race goes, the Rossi camp has already issued a memo to the press explaining why they think Dino will do poorly next Tuesday. Of course, it's a time-honored political tradition to down-play expectations ahead of time so that it's easier to declare victory after the fact. Meanwhile, pollster Stuart Elway argues that primary vote will favor Republicans more than Democrats. According to Elway,

"People age 60+... make up 50-55% of the voters who cast ballots in both the '04 and '06 Primaries... What difference does this make? Voters over 60 identified evenly as Democrats (37%) and Republicans (37%) in the current survey. Voters under 60 leaned heavily Democratic (45-28%). This suggests that the Primary results will be lighter shade of Democratic blue than the General election results will be." [The Elway Report, July/August, 2008]

In the meantime, you still have an opportunity to support Gov. Gregoire before the primary. There are Labor to Neighbor walks scheduled for this Saturday in Aberdeen, Everett, Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma, plus phone banks on Monday in Everett, Seattle and Tacoma. In addition, the Gregoire campaign has scheduled events leading up to the primary all across the state.

And, as always, don't forget that as a WFSE Political Action volunteer you receive a free "WFSE for Gregoire" t-shirt to recognize you for taking action in support of your own economic self-interest. To volunteer (and get your shirt) call April at 1-800-562-6002 or e-mail her at

Happy voting! -- Dennis

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