Today's primary to decide issues, races

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— The earliest primary in recent state history comes down to the wire today.

Voters who have held onto their ballots need to have them postmarked today to count, said Walla Walla County Elections Supervisor Debbie Benavides.

With the exception of the drop box in the county Auditor’s Office, ballots can be deposited up until 8 p.m. today in drop boxes at various locations. No postage is needed for ballots put into drop boxes.

Preliminary results will be posted on the county Auditor’s website after the polls close at 8 p.m. Preliminary results will also be posted at union-bulletin.com. Counties have until Aug. 21 to certify the results and the Secretary of State’s office will have three days after that to certify the elections.

Benavides said today that as of Thursday 9,072 ballots have been returned out of 30,874 mailed. That’s about 29 percent.

Secretary of State Sam Reed has predicted a turnout of 46 percent for the primary, somewhat higher than the average of 43 percent for presidential year primaries. The primary will winnow the field to two candidates for each of the nine statewide executive offices, including four that have no incumbent running; the U.S. Senate; all 10 U.S. House districts, including a newly awarded 10th District; most legislative seats; and many local offices.

Two local bond issues on the ballot are for an $8.7 million aquatic center in Walla Walla and the $7 million College Avenue-Rose Street Reconstruction project in College Place.

Voters will also choose who will replace retiring Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht as well as narrowing the race for the Walla Walla County commission District 2 seat.

Reed said this is the earliest primary in modern times. At his request and the state’s county auditors, the primary date was moved to early August to accommodate military and overseas voters, in keeping with new federal law that requires their ballots go out at least 45 days before the election.

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