Primary ballots in the mail beginning Wednesday

Ballots for the August primary election will be in the mail beginning Wednesday, July 18.

In addition to a number of federal, congressional, state legislative and judicial races, the Aug. 7 primary includes a San Juan County Council-endorsed proposition, Prop. 1, which, if approved, would raise the local sales tax by 3/10 tenths of 1 percent, from 7.8 percent to 8.1 percent, with proceeds earmarked for public safety services.

This year, county Elections is partnering with the Secretary of State to provide voters with access to an online voters' guide, printable replacement ballots and notification of when ballots are received by the local Elections office. Access the online site

In addition, voters can use the online site to update their residential address (within state), or mailing address, anywhere in the world. Voters can also view their "voting history" at the online site as well.

Locally, voter turnout in the 2010 primary topped 64 percent, with 7,400 of the county's 11,491 registered voters casting ballots in that election.

The 2012 primary ballot features nine candidates seeking to be Washington state's next governor, seven challengers to U.S. Senate incumbent Maria Cantwell, five candidates challenging U.S. District 2 Congressman Rick Larsen, four state attorney general hopefuls, three state Supreme Court races and 40th District state Senator Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, facing two opponents, including Republican John Swapp.

Under the state's Top Two primary system, the top two vote-getters in each race advance to November's general election, regardless of party affiliation.

As in the past, this year's primary is a vote-by-mail only election. Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 7, election day, if returned by mail; first-class postage is required. Alternatively, ballots can be deposited in any of the Election department's drop-boxes, located at the county courthouse in Friday Harbor, the senior center on Orcas and the fire station on Lopez. Ballots can also be dropped off at the Elections office in Friday Harbor, by 8 p.m., on election day.



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