Ballots will be in the mail Friday, July 20, for the Aug. 7 primary election. The top two candidates, regardless of party, will move on to the Nov. 6 general election. More races, from local districts all the way to U.S. President, will be on the fall ballot.
Our 2012 Whatcom County online voter guide allows you to enter your address and compare platforms from the candidates in contested races in your districts. You can also email your ballot to friends and family and share your endorsements on social media.
The 40th District seat for the Washington State Senate and Position 2, Whatcom County Superior Court Judge, are among the contested races in the primary. Whatcom County residents may find themselves voting for unfamiliar candidates after redistricting split the county into the 1st and 2nd Congressional districts for the U.S. House of Representatives.
If you missed them, columns by candidates for these legislative offices will be available online at BellinghamHerald.com/Whatcom-Opinion-Columns.
You can return your ballot to the county auditor's office or to area drop boxes, or mail it back by Aug. 7. Be sure your ballot is postmarked by Aug. 7.
In our poll of 420 readers at BellinghamHerald.com about how quickly vote-by-mail ballots are cast, 48 percent said they take a week or so to check out candidates before voting. Twenty-one percent said they vote as soon as the ballot arrives. Seventeen percent said they wait until a day or so before Election Day to see what candidates do close to the end of the campaign.
Five percent said they submit their ballot on Election Day because they just don't get around to voting until the last minute. And 4 percent say they submit their ballots on Election Day because they miss voting in person. Three percent don't bother to vote and 2 percent weren't registered to vote.
Whenever you vote, you can go online to myvote.wa.gov to see if your ballot has been received. It's the digital version of your "I voted" sticker.
We only accept digital letters to the editor. The last day we will accept letters about the primary election is July 27. Please use our form online at BellinghamHerald.com/submit-letter.
If you are planning ahead for the Nov. 6 general election, those ballots are due out Oct. 19, and we'll accept letters until Oct. 26.
Scarborough Research has found that newspaper readers are 9 percent more likely to say that they always vote in local or statewide elections, compared to the average U.S. adult, so we hope you will use the social media tools in our online voters guide to spread the voting word to friends and family.