By Stefanie Donahue
Register by Monday, July 9 to vote in the Tuesday, August 7 primary election.
Whatcom County Auditor Debbie Adelstein reminds residents that they have until July 9 to register to vote or update their address by mail or online at myvote.wa.gov. Individuals who have never registered to vote in Washington can do so in person until 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 30 at the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office at 311 Grand Ave., Suite 103, Bellingham.
Ballots will be mailed to registered voters at their mailing address on Wednesday, July 18.
This August, Whatcom County voters will choose from a pool of more than 60 candidates who are vying for positions serving the state and county. The top two candidates who receive the most votes, despite party affiliation, will move to the Tuesday, November 6 general election.
Per state law, partisan races go up for a vote during the primary election despite the number of candidates.
Among the key office positions featured on the primary election ballot is U.S. Senator, which serves a partisan, six-year term.
A total of 29 candidates are running for the senatorial position, including incumbent Maria Cantwell (D). As stated on a sample ballot, 13 of the candidates are Republican, while five are Democratic. The remaining candidates identify with other parties.
Five people are running for U.S. Representative in the first congressional district (which serves a two-year, partisan term) including, incumbent representative Suzan DelBene (D), Jeffrey Beeler (R), Scott Stafne (R), Robert Mair (no party preference) and Adam Pilskog (no party preference).
In District 42, incumbent Doug Ericksen (R), Pinky Vargas (D) and Tim Ballew II (D), are running for state senator, which serves a four-year, partisan term. Ericksen has served the position since 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. Vargas is a member of Bellingham City Council and serves the fourth ward. Ballew, a former chair of the Lummi Nation, is a Whatcom County councilmember.
According to Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) filings, Ballew has reported $87,229 in campaign contributions, Ericksen has reported $80,867 and Vargas has reported $57,278.
Also in District 42, two positions for a two-year partisan term as state representative are up for election. Luanne Van Werven (R), Justin Boneau (D) and Dean Berkeley (R) are running for position 1, while Vincent Buys (R) and Sharon Shewmake (D) are running for position 2.
The PDC reports that Buys has reported $36,740 in campaign contributions, Van Werven has reported $30,711, Shewmake has reported $16,345, Boneau has reported $5,615 and Berkeley has reported no contributions.
Eric Bostrom, Carol Frazey, Aaron Thomas and Mike Peetoom are running for an at-large position on the county council, which serves a one-year, unexpired term.
Frazey has reported $12,169 in campaign contributions, Peetoom has reported $5,084, Bostrom has reported $594 and Thomas has reported no earnings to the PDC.
Staff with the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office provide voting assistance to elderly and disabled individuals at 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 103 in Bellingham and by phone at 360/778-5102.
The public can also visit the office to obtain voter registration information, registration form and ballots.
As of July 2, a total of 139,208 residents were registered to vote in Whatcom County.