Remember, it’s a privilege to vote

If the state’s chief election officer, Sam Reed, is correct, tomorrow’s Top 2 primary will draw a better-than-usual number of ballots across the state.

Secretary of State Reed is predicting a 46 percent turnout, slightly higher than the average 43 percent in presidential and gubernatorial election years. A 46 percent turnout would even exceed the highest recent voter participation levels: 45.8 percent in 1992 and 45.14 percent in 2004.

We hope voters go beyond Reed’s projections because there are so many important races to be decided, including an open race for governor featuring two highly qualified and high-profile candidates.

But there are also an extraordinary number of state offices up for grabs this year, including attorney general, auditor, lieutenant governor, commissioner of public lands, superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner and secretary of state.

Specifically for South Sound voters, there is the new 10th Congressional District, two seats on the county commission and a number of state legislative and judicial positions being contested.

Thurston voters will also select two of the three candidates for the open Thurston Public Utility District for the fall ballot. This is an interesting race because the Thurston Public Power Initiative collected enough signatures to put the question of public power on the fall ballot, which will be a distinguishing factor in the PUD election.

This will be the last primary and general election cycle for Reed. He is retiring after 12 years in office. A moderate Republican, Reed has served the state well, handling elections issues fairly and in a nonpartisan manner.

He has competently overseen the conversion of all counties in the state to vote-by-mail.

We should all take a minute to thank those who run for public office, whether we support them or not. It takes great sacrifice and courage to stand for election.

We honor them best by casting a vote. That’s a enormous privilege we have enjoyed forever in this nation, something that others around the world are today fighting to achieve.