By Jami Makan
The August 6 primary election is coming up, giving voters a chance to vote for candidates running for various offices in Whatcom County.
Offices up for primary election of interest to Point Roberts voters include Whatcom County executive, Whatcom County Council district 5, and Blaine school district director districts 2 and 4.
A primary election is only held for offices for which three or more candidates have filed. After a primary election, the two candidates with the most votes continue on to the general election, which takes place on November 5.
Those who wish to vote in the primaries must be registered to vote. The deadline to register online or by mail has already passed. However, residents can still register in person, up to and including election day, by visiting the Whatcom County auditor’s office during business hours, where a clerk can assist with the registration process. The office is located at 311 Grand Avenue, suite 103 in Bellingham. It is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Those who register in person will be handed their ballot right away, said Diana Bradrick, Whatcom County chief deputy auditor. They then have a few options to vote their ballot. They can fill it out in the office right then and there, guaranteeing that their ballot meets the deadline. Another option is to take it home, fill it out and return it to any one of the drop boxes in Whatcom County.
Drop boxes opened on July 17. The Point Roberts drop box is located at the Point Roberts Marketplace, 480 Tyee Drive. All drop boxes close at 8 p.m. on election day. No stamp is needed.
A third option is to mail the ballot through the post office. However, in order to be counted, the ballot must be postmarked on election day or sooner. Because of service cut off times, ballots taken to a post office on election day may actually not get postmarked until the following day, rendering them invalid.
To avoid the risk of a late postmark, Bradrick said that those who take their ballots to the post office on election day should stand in line in order to ensure that it receives the correct stamp. “But we really do encourage people not to wait until election week to put things in the mail,” she said. “Every election, we have a fair number of ballots that cannot be counted due to a late postmark.”
For voters with disabilities, accessible voting units are available starting on July 17 at 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 103 in Bellingham. Large print ballots are available upon request.
Various resources are available on Whatcom County’s website, whatcomcounty.us. These include a sample ballot and an online voters’ guide. Those with questions or concerns about the primary election can contact Whatcom County’s election division at 360/778-5102 during business hours.