The two council races in Carbonado must be real doozies.
How else to explain why voters in that small East Pierce County town (population: 613) have turned in their primary election ballots at a rate more than twice that of county voters as a whole? Are they just more civic-minded than the average county voter?
As of Thursday, only about 9 percent of county voters had returned their ballots for Tuesday’s primary by either mailing them or dropping them in one of many convenient drop boxes. But almost 23 percent of Carbonadons (or is it Carbonites?) have already voted.
The only other municipality that even comes close is Steilacoom, with a return rate of 16.7 percent as of Thursday. Trailing the pack are voters in Tacoma’s District 3. Even with one of the most hotly contested City Council races on the ballot, only 7.38 percent of voters in that district had voted by Thursday.
Maybe all this hot weather is addling our brains, making us more concerned about finding a cool spot than about elections. Let’s not use that as an excuse: The heat isn’t supposed to break until next week.
County Auditor Julie Anderson says ballot returns are on track to meet the expected turnout of 23 percent. That might be expected, but it’s a pathetic number. All-mail voting is so simple that there’s no good excuse for failing to vote.
Voting in the primary is important. In races where more than two candidates are running, voters will decide who makes it to the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Some truly fine people are seeking office, and it would be a shame if they didn’t advance for lack of a few votes — perhaps yours. Don’t let others make decisions for you.
Even in communities where no council or school board seats are on the ballot, voters must decide who the top-two candidates are for a countywide port commission race and for positions on the Pierce County Charter Review Commission. Read the voters guide, and it’s clear that some candidates are better suited than others to consider whether to make changes to the county’s “constitution.”
Several fire districts are seeking support for levies or levy lid lifts, and many of them need a certain minimum number of votes in order to be validated — even if they win voter approval. The News Tribune editorial board supports all of them except for those in fire districts trying to secure permanent levies. We think there’s value in providing accountability to voters by seeking their support at election time.
To make your vote count, your ballot must either be postmarked by Tuesday (check on your post office’s hours, and be sure to affix postage) or deposited in a drop box before 8 p.m. that day (no postage is required).
Just to be safe, go find your ballot now. And fill it out. To read our endorsements, go online to www.thenewstribune.com/editorials. They will also appear in Saturday’s print edition.