September means primary season

"In a rare show of unity, county Republicans and Democrats urge citizens, above all else, to vote.It always amazes me to see people keep that right in their hip pocket until a presidential election day and do nothing else, said Karl Duff, chair of the Kitsap County Republican Party.County Democratic Chair Russell Hartman agreed. Stay tuned, pay attention, get out there and vote, he said of the Sept. 19 state primary election.The primary will be a trial run for many state races, in which the parties have fielded single candidates who will move on the general election regardless of the Sept. 19 outcome. The 23rd District, which includes Bainbridge Island, has one Democrat, one Republican and one Libertarian candidate in the races for state senator and house positions 1 and 2 positions.The 26th and 35th districts are a little more exciting this year, said Duff, where, in several of positions, voters will see a variety of Republicans and Democrats jockeying for a place on the general ballot.Hartman, however, was already looking ahead to the 23rd District, position 2 house race between incumbent Republican Beverly Woods and Democratic challenger David Harrison, as a chance for his party to win an extra seat in an evenly divided house.Write-in candidate Paul Zellinsky is also running for the state representative in that position. If he receives 1 percent of the primary vote, his name will appear on the general ballot.One issue Kitsap County voters will be asked to decide Sept. 19 is Proposition 1, a local sales tax increase of three-tenths of 1 cent to restore Kitsap Transit revenues lost with the passage of I-695.Some judicial races, including the State Supreme Court and Superior Court position 2, will be decided in the primary.Federal and state positions in this year's primary include president, U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, governor, secretary of state and attorney general, among others.Most of the statewide races include more than one candidate from each party - the secretary of state race includes five Democrats and four Republicans, for instance - so the primary will determine who moves on to the general election.Flynn noted that this will be the last year for Washington's unusual blanket primary. Washington has for 65 years allowed voters to support a Republican in one race and a Democrat in another in primary elections. Most states, however, require a declaration of party affiliation from voters, and give them a ballot with only Democrat or Republican candidates.The blanket primary has been overturned by a recent Supreme Court ruling, in response to a case in California. The ruling was too recent to affect this year's primaries.I can predict the citizens of Washington aren't going to be happy about this, Flynn said of the upcoming changes.There are a lot of independent voters in Washington, she said. And it's difficult for them to make a decision and be limited to one party in the primaries. Blanket primaries often have higher turnouts than closed primaries - ours had a 48 percent turnout last year. Also contributing to high voter turnout, Flynn said, are the state's liberal absentee laws, which allow anyone - not just voters in the hospital or out-of-state - to receive absentee ballots. There are 74,000 permanent absentee voters in Kitsap County, out of a registered voting population of 127,700.They make up a minimum 65 percent of our turnout, Flynn said.Absentee ballots were mailed today, Aug. 30, she said. "

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