Local elections offices began mailing ballots to Washington voters in mid-July for the Aug. 4 primary, and while some state systems are creaking under the weight of increased absentee ballots, King County officials say that their advice to make sure your ballot is counted hasn’t changed.
According to an NPR investigation, at least 65,000 absentee or mail-in ballots were rejected in states that have already held primaries because they arrived past their due dates.
In one case cited in the story, a man in Florida mailed his ballot eight days before the election, but his ballot wasn’t received until eight days after. His vote was not counted.
King County elections officials say voters can be sure to avoid a similar fate by mailing their ballot from home no later than the Friday before the election. After that, drop off the ballot directly at a post office to make sure it is stamped by election day or use one of the drop boxes before 8 p.m. Aug. 4.
If you aren’t registered, it’s not too late.
The Washington state legislature passed same-day voter registration in 2018 to make it easier for Washingtonians to weigh in.
Mayor Durkan fights recall
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has asked a judge to reconsider his decision to allow a recall effort against her, arguing that the basis of the charge — that she did not stop police officers from using chemicals against protesters during the pandemic — was not under her control.
That duty belongs to Police Chief Carmen Best, the mayor’s attorney claimed in a response, according to The Seattle Times.
“[Durkan’s] discretionary decision not to overrule or usurp part of the Chief’s authority cannot be a basis for recall, particularly in the midst of a dynamic week of protests, public safety issues, and unrest,” the response reads.
If the judge rejects this argument, those leading the recall effort will have to collect roughly 50,000 signatures — 25 percent of the electorate that cast ballots in the 2017 election Durkan won. That will lead to an up-down vote on Durkan. If she were to lose, City Council President Lorena Gonzalez would step in as interim mayor.
Durkan assumed the role of mayor in November 2017, months before she would have typically been inaugurated, because she was replacing interim Mayor Tim Burgess.
Burgess was mayor for roughly 10 weeks after being appointed to take over after the resignation of Mayor Ed Murray, who resigned amid scandal.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC.
Read more in the July 22-28, 2020 issue.