A ballot drop box where you can drop off your vote. Photo courtesy of APACE.
Sahil Bathija of APACE.

Election day is November 2nd, 2021. Ballots will be mailed out to Washington residents on October 15th, beginning the 18-day voting period to turn in your ballot and vote. Voting in your local elections matters a lot more than you might think.

Nationwide, voter turnout has always been lower in solely local election years. In Washington, overall voter turnout for the 2019 general election was 45.19%, compared to the 84.14% turnout in our last general election in 2020. Yet local elected officials make decisions that play a prominent role in your everyday lives. Voting in local elections can be just as important as voting at the federal and state level. If you think about it, your vote in this election is worth more than ever.

Your vote in local elections fills candidates in a wide variety of positions that make some of the most critical decisions affecting your daily life. King County 2021 general election ballots include candidates running for mayor, city attorney, county executive, municipal and court of appeal judges, port of Seattle commissioners, school district directors, fire and rescue commissioners, water and sewer district commissioners, public hospital district commissioners, community municipal corporation district commissioners, metropolitan park and recreation district commissioners, and a plethora of city council positions. Ballots also include many important non-binding advisory votes on whether to maintain certain tax funding for specific programs.

So much is at stake during these local elections. Your vote unequivocally matters and plays a role in the direction of your city. The quality of your legal system, schools, parks, public transportation, fire department, public hospitals, and even the water you drink all are affected by the candidates you vote into office. Their decisions directly affect the microcosm of activity surrounding your daily lives.

Each potentially elected official has a role in making the city what you hope it can be. For example, your mayor and city council make important decisions regarding the economy and city budget funds, COVID-19 relief funds and pandemic recovery, housing support, public safety, taxes, and districting. Choosing a candidate can be as simple as finding the option that best aligns with your beliefs and values. The voter’s pamphlet you receive with your ballot is a great way to get information. Your elected officials are meant to represent you and your community, so show them what you care about through your vote.

Do not let your voice be unheard. Washington makes it easy to get in your vote by providing submission alternatives for what works best for you and your schedule. For example, ballot drop boxes are conveniently located around the city for those who do not want to use the pre-paid return envelope to mail in their ballot. Your vote matters and plays a central role in legislation affecting your future and the future of your family. Local officials make meaningful decisions. Voting for a candidate or issue shows your interest and commitment to better your community in the way you know it can improve.

Elections are coming up. Vote for what and who you believe in. Help the candidates you believe are best for yourself and your community. Voting matters, your voice matters, and advocating for the issues you care about matters for your city.

For more opinions, click here

Previous articleHigh rise project on 8th and South Lane Street comes back before design board
Next articleJACL Seattle chapter and regional multiracial artists create a space to explore mixed race identities through artistic expression