Be counted on Election Day -- submit vote by Tuesday

It's unlikely anyone needs a reminder, but Election Day is Tuesday.

Most of us are counting the hours, eagerly awaiting an end to the incessant campaign season and a return to other interests.

Presidential races usually inspire stronger emotions than most other elections. Judging from the heated rhetoric filling our letters columns and in comments readers have posted on tricityherald.com, voters in the Mid-Columbia are particularly absorbed by the contest.

Mitt Romney's backers may have little in common with those in Barack Obama's camp, but all sides agree on at least one point -- the outcome of this year's election matters.

The election isn't limited to choosing our next president, of course. A host of other key races -- from Washington's next governor to county commissioner -- appear on the ballot.

Ballot measures -- same-sex marriage, charter schools, marijuana legalization and whether to require supermajority in the Legislature or a popular vote of the people to raise taxes -- make this one of the most interesting election seasons we can remember.

Ballots must be returned or postmarked by Tuesday or they don't count. You also can hand-deliver your ballot to one of the several official election drop boxes.

In Benton County, boxes are available until 8 p.m. Tuesday at the courthouse in Prosser, city halls in Benton City, West Richland, Kennewick and Richland and the Auditor's Annex on Canal Drive in Kennewick

In Franklin County, drop boxes are at Fire District No. 3 station on Road 84, the Franklin County Election Center, 116 N. 3rd Ave., Pasco, the TRAC facility, the courthouse parking lot and the Connell PUD Shop.

With so much at stake, you'll want to be part of the 2012 election -- and you'll want to all the information you need to make informed decisions.

We're posting a listing of all our recommendations below. You can find the complete editorials at tinyurl.com/TCH-Elex.

You'll also find election recommendations from letter writers and links to an electronic version of the state's official voters guide, along with links to the websites for Benton and Franklin county auditors.


w U.S. Senator -- Michael Baumgartner

w 4th Congressional District -- Doc Hastings


Ballot measures

w Initiative 502: Legalize marijuana -- No

w Initiative 1185: Supermajority for tax increases -- Yes

w Initiative 1240: Charter schools -- Yes

w Referendum 74: Same-sex marriage -- Yes

State offices

w Lt. Governor -- Brad Owen

w Treasurer -- Jim McIntire

w Secretary of State -- Kim Wyman

w State Auditor -- James Watkins

w Attorney General -- Reagan Dunn

w Commissioner of Public Lands -- Peter Goldmark

w Insurance Commissioner -- Mike Kreidler

Supreme Court

w Justice, Position 9 -- Richard B. Sanders


8th District

w House, Position 1: Jay Clough

w House, Position 2: Larry Haler

16th District

w Senate -- Mike Hewitt

w House, Position 1 -- Maureen Walsh

Franklin County

w Commissioner, District 1 -- Brad Peck

w Commissioner, District 2 -- Bob Koch

Benton County

w Commissioner, District 1 -- Jerome Delvin

w Commissioner, District 3 -- James Beaver