Voter turnout should be well over 50 percent

Voting is part of being a good citizen. Yet, fewer than half the ballots statewide and locally are expected to be returned.

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Washington's Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts 47 percent of registered voters in Washington state will cast ballots in the Nov. 8 election.

That's pathetic.

Yet, it gets worse. Walla Walla County Auditor Karen Martin offers a prediction even more pitiful.

Martin said she believes 40 percent of Walla Walla County will return their ballots.

"Hopefully I will be wrong and it will be higher," Martin said.

Yet, as of Friday, the trend was not spectacular. One full week after all the ballots were mailed just 15.14 percent -- 4,644 -- had been received by the Auditor's Office.

The number of people casting ballots should be much higher in Walla Walla County and throughout the state.

If people take the time to register to vote, why would they not vote in every election?

After all, elections are all vote-by-mail. The ballot comes to your home, you fill it out and mail it back or drop it off at the County Courthouse. Sure, it can be difficult to figure out who to vote for in each race and what ballot measures to approve or reject, but it can be done by reading about the issues, attending debates and simply talking to your friends and neighbors.

Being a voter -- an informed voter -- is part of being a good citizen.

"We certainly wish that half or more of our voters were casting ballots, since so many important local government offices and local issues are before the voters and we have significant statewide ballot measures to deal with," Reed said.

Reed is correct. The local races are very important. The race for Port of Walla Walla commissioner seems to have garnered a lot of interest. The debate has been vigorous.

In addition, a number of local city council and school board positions are being contested, including more than half the seats on the Walla Walla City Council.

If you have not voted yet, do so. Be a good citizen.


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