During the annual long stretch of summer’s hottest weather, most people have other things on their minds than voting - like heading to the beach or otherwise staying cool. That explains – but doesn’t justify - why a majority of Thurston County residents will allow a small number of citizens to make important decisions in the August primary election.
This year’s primary election is Aug. 5, and Thurston County began mailing ballots today.
In last year’s primary, only 25 percent of the county’s registered voters cast a ballot. That’s an appallingly low turnout, and it doesn’t calculate the number of unregistered but eligible voters.
Of course, fewer voters go to the polls during local government election years. But in2010, the last time voters elected officials for county, state and federal positions during a non-presidential year, the turnout improved only slightly to 43 percent.
Voter turnout would improve if the state shifted the primary to June, when kids are still in school and families haven’t left town – physically or mentally – for summer vacations. But lawmakers have balked because they can’t raise money or knock on doors until their annual legislative session ends. And it often runs overtime.
Voters shouldn’t let those political considerations get in the way of exercising their democratic obligation. When your ballot arrives this week, please vote.