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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Where and how to vote in Whatcom County’s primary elections

By Grace Taylor

With less than two weeks until election day, it’s easy to feel behind or even a little lost with what to do and how to get involved.

If you’ve done as much as register to vote, you’re on your way to getting your voice heard and influencing the candidates for the coming general election.

As we close in on the final weeks before the 2018 Whatcom County primary elections, The Western Front is  here to inform you on the final steps.

For Washington, the upcoming election is structured as a top-two primary election, which ultimately narrows down the candidates for the general election on November 6.

With Washington’s adoption of a top-two primary election, this means voters can vote for any candidate and any candidate is able to run in the election. The top-two structure means that following the primary election, the top-two candidates with the largest number of votes will continue to the general election, no matter their party.

As of July 18, ballot drop box locations are open and ballots have been mailed. That leaves Whatcom County residents until 8 p.m. on Aug. 7 to do some reading, get a ballot and locate their nearest drop box or mailbox location.

The closest drop box to campus is in front of the Wade King Student Recreation Center. The next closest is at the northeast corner of the Sehome Haggen parking lot. As of 2018, postage stamps are no longer required for both by-mail and drop box submissions.

Drop boxes will be open until 8 p.m. on August 7. // Interactive map by Grace Taylor

Women are present in all but three Whatcom County races. The ballot presents female candidates from both major parties and replacements for the retiring prosecuting attorney Dave McEachran, who spent 46 years in office.

Incumbent Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, is running for re-election and being challenged by Democratic candidates Tim Ballew II and Pinky Vargas. Ballew II is a former Lummi Nation chairman and current at-large member of the Whatcom County Council. Vargas is a current Bellingham City Council member.

For more information on the candidates for Whatcom County’s primary election, see the voters’ guide online.

For those who are registered, a ballot should be mailed to the residents’ address on file within 20 days of election day, coming three to five business days after mailing. For new Washington residents, the deadline for in-person registration is July 30.

If you miss the deadlines, make sure to register to vote at your current address by October 8 for general elections. You can find out more about the process and register to vote online. The start of the general election 18-day voting period will begin October 19 and dropboxes will close at 8 p.m. on November 6.

The results of this primary election will be certified by August 21.

Correction: There is not a drop box in front of the Western Associated Students Bookstore. Due to construction, it has been placed at the Wade King Student Recreation Center.

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