Primary ballots sent, due by Aug. 1

In the not-too-distant past, political theory held that election season didn’t really heat up until the calendar flipped past Labor Day.

That’s no longer the case, now that ballots are already in voters’ hands and the Aug. 1 primary election is a bit more than a week away.

In King County, election officials put ballots in the mail July 12; their Pierce County counterparts flooded area mailboxes with ballots just two days later. They can be filled out and returned until Election Day.

In most cases, there’s not a great deal at stake during the primary. Throughout the region, the bulk of the political races feature just two candidates, meaning those electoral hopefuls will automatically advance to November’s general election.

There are exceptions, though, and Washington’s “top two” system will whittle the field during the primary election, leaving just a favored pair still standing.

The primary is of utmost importance for East Pierce Fire and Rescue, where commissioners have placed two measures on the ballot. The same goes in the town of Wilkeson, where voters will decide the fate of a tax levy for emergency medical services.

Details of the tax measures proposed by both East Pierce and Wilkeson are found in the current voter’s pamphlet. Included are ballot titles, explanatory statements and, if provided, statements for and against the proposals. Pamphlets were mailed to voters and also are available online by visiting the county elections website (www.co.pierce.wa.us/328/Elections).

Here’s a look at races that will trim the political field on Aug. 1.

Enumclaw

A pair of City Council opportunities attracted three candidates each, calling for a primary paring.

For Position 3, voters will advance two from the field of Kael Johnson, Nick Morris and Anthony Wright. The Position 5 hopefuls are Kyle Jacobson, Kyle Kading and Blain Thomas.

Wright presently sits on council, having been appointed in the spring. Position 5 will see a newcomer join the board, replacing Juanita Carstens, who chose not to run again.

Bonney Lake

Three of the city’s four races have just a lone candidate. For City Council Position 6, however, voters will pick two from a field of Dave Baus, Terry Carter and Pablo Monroy.

The contested race is for a seat now occupied by Donn Lewis, who opted against seeking another four-year term.

Black Diamond

In the race for City Council Position 4, two will advance from a field that includes Ed Hanrahan, Scott Sherer and Erin Rose Stout.

It will be a newcomer taking a seat in the contentious world of Black Diamond city government. Incumbent councilman Brian Weber opted against running again.

Mail or drop ballot

Ballots must be completed and postmarked by Aug. 1. Or, voters can hand-deliver their ballots to a drop box and avoid paying postage. The drop boxes also are handy for last-minute voters.

In Enumclaw, King County Elections has established a drop box in front of the public library at 1700 First St.

In the east end of Pierce County, drop boxes are available in Bonney Lake at the park-and-ride lot off Sky Island Drive; at the Sumner library, 1116 Fryar Ave.; and at the Buckley library, 123 S. River Ave.

In both counties, boxes are already accepting ballots and will remain available until 8 p.m. Aug. 1.

Coming in November

Once the primary election is history, candidates and voters can focus on the big prize – the Nov. 7 general election.

Locally, voters will help decide races in the 31st Legislative District, for the King County Council, in all the area cities and towns, and for both the Enumclaw Fire Department and East Pierce Fire and Rescue.

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