The right to vote was a hard-won victory for the ordinary U.S. citizen.
That’s because voting has a real impact on how our country operates — your ballot is a powerful tool to make your voice heard in all levels of government. As you’ve probably heard by now, this is an election year, which means we have decisions to make when November comes.
Polls for the general election open across the country on Nov. 6. Washington residents will have a wide ballot of candidates to consider for major positions such as U.S. Senator, a race that will pit incumbent Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, against Republican challenger Susan Hutchison. Washingtonians will also elect a host of U.S. representatives atop a ballot that also addresses a fleet of state positions in our own Legislature and judiciary. Beyond the office candidates, voters will also decide on a set of ballot initiatives. That includes Initiative 1631, which would instill a $2.3 billion escalating energy tax on Washington businesses and consumers that would exempt six of the state’s top-ten largest polluters. AGC of Washington and other advocacy groups stand opposed to I-1631 and its undemocratic approach to managing and dispersing the proceeds of this tax through an unelected bureaucracy. You can find more on I-1631 here and a complete list of initiatives here.
Are you registered to vote? If not, now is the best time to change that. The Washington Secretary of State website is a great resource to learn what you need to do to make sure your ballot counts. To register to vote, you must be at least 18 years of age by election time, as well as a U.S. citizen and a resident of Washington. You must also not be legally declared mentally incapacitated and not a convicted felon — or at least not a felon who hasn’t completed all of the terms and conditions of sentencing. You can register online using your Washington state ID or in-person at your local County Clerk’s office but remember: per the Secretary of State, Oct. 8 is the last day to register online to vote in the general election. The in-person deadline is Oct. 29.
You can also use the SoS website or the clerk’s office to request a vote-by-mail ballot. If you’d prefer to submit your ballot in-person on election day, you should check the SoS website to find your county voting guide. You can also check with your county office to find the right polling station for you. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close 7 p.m.
The right to vote is held sacred among our civic duties as Americans. It’s far too important to pass up, so register today and start thinking about how you’ll cast your ballot this November.