We’re done with our 2019 election prep; the rest is up to you

The ballots are out, and our endorsements are in. Now the hard work of processing reams of information, sorting through the spin and filling all those bubbles with a trusty ink pen rests with you, dear voters.

Washington election officials may be grateful they have the 2019 election as a warmup for the 2020 election, when a president, a governor and scores of others will be chosen and several thousand more voters will participate. There are new systems to test and fresh mandates to work out, such as same-day voter registration and prepaid ballot postage.

Voters, meantime, would do well to treat this year’s local contests, which have been mostly well-behaved affairs, just as seriously as next year’s state and national elections, which are already shaping up to be marathon food fights.

Participation in Pierce County’s odd-year primary elections doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. The 20.58 percent turnout in August was the lowest in the state and, preceded by 18.7 percent two years ago, flashes like a warning light on the dashboard of democracy.

Giving equal attention to local elections was the TNT Editorial Board’s goal heading into 2019 endorsement season.

As always, it’s worth noting that we have no delusions of grandeur, no thought that our endorsements should be etched on stone tablets and carried down Mount Sinai, if only Moses (or Charlton Heston) were still alive.

Our recommendations are merely intended to stimulate discussion and add to the information you get through other sources: the voters pamphlet, campaign mailers and websites, public forums and front-porch chats with doorbelling office seekers.

But we do have uncommon access to candidates and ballot measure advocates. We spent well over a dozen hours this summer and fall sizing them up in joint interview sessions with their opponents.

On our side of the table were myself, editorial writer Karen Irwin, executive editor Dale Phelps and publisher Rebecca Poynter. During endorsement season we were joined again this year by community representative Pamela Transue, president emeritus of Tacoma Community College. And new to the Editorial Board this fall is a familiar face for TNT readers: local columnist Matt Driscoll.

Over the last three weeks, we’ve published our full-length endorsements for the general election in print and online. You can find them at www.thenewstribune.com/opinion

Our focus was on the Port of Tacoma, Pierce County’s three largest cities and statewide ballot issues. And while we regret not having the bandwidth to vet candidates running for smaller city and town councils and school boards, a half-baked effort would have been even more regrettable.

So now I wish you godspeed doing your civic duty. Remember what legendary former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said: “All politics is local.” But most of all, remember: No felt tip markers.


* Port of Tacoma — Deanna Keller (Pos. 3); Kristin Ang (Pos. 5)

* Tacoma City Council — John Hines; (Pos. 1): Keith Blocker (Pos. 3); Conor McCarthy (at large Pos. 7); Kristina Walker (at large Pos. 8)

* Tacoma School Board: Lisa Keating (Pos. 1); Enrique Leon (Pos. 2.)

* Lakewood City Council: Linda Farmer (Pos. 6); Paul Bocchi (Pos. 7)

* Puyallup City Council: Curtis Thiel (Dist. 1); John Palmer (Dist. 2); Ned Witting (Dist. 3); Heather Shadko (at-large)

* Puyallup School Bond: Yes

* State Referendum 88/ Initiative 1000 (affirmative action): Yes

* State Initiative 976 (car tabs): No

* Senate Joint Resolution 8200 (government continuity during an emergency): Yes