One week until August 1 primary – do voters care?

The August 1 primary is exactly one week away and tens of thousands of votes have already been returned to elections headquarters.

One look at your ballot or neighborhood street corner, and it doesn't take long to figure out this isn't your average Seattle mayoral primary.

“I think there are some really good choices. I think it's a great thing. We need a change,” said Beth Scott outside of Geraldine’s Counter in Columbia City.

While voters from South Seattle to the Central District say they’re engaged and enthusiastic about voting, many need a few final days of research.

“It’s hard to separate between the candidates; there are several similar ones rising to the top,” said Joshua Zwart. “Living in South Seattle, I’m looking at candidates who aren't just focusing on the wealthy neighborhoods; see if they looking into improving safety, looking into rising housing costs, some of the transportation issues that affect a more average person.”

Rebecca Bridge of the Central District said she’s narrowed it down to two candidates of the 21, but isn’t ready to return her ballot quite yet.  

“A big demographic of working, middle class people have been overlooked, and it’s becoming more and more people to make ends meet," Bridge said. "So, I think that’s something I’m thinking about. Who is going to take that into consideration. Housing and education, all things I’m thinking about.”

August 1 primary voters will determine which two candidates of the crowded field of 21 mayoral candidates make it through to November. It’s a decision King County Elections estimates under 40 percent of registered voters will make. 

However, elections officials expect turnout to be greater than past off-year primary cycles due to the high interest in the Seattle mayoral race and higher than expected turnout during both February and April special elections, according to a spokeswoman.  

So far, just under 10 percent of registered voters have returned their ballots, with exactly one week until ballots are due.

Related: Latest return statistics from King County 

A study on mayoral elections by Portland State University found that Seattle ranks on the higher side of voter turnout overall, but older voters turn out in much greater numbers during mayoral elections compared to the millennial demographic.

“Since I turned 18, voted in every election I could,” said Lloyd Major, who adds he doesn’t plan on breaking his streak this election, even if it means cramming at the last minute.

Ballots must be postmarked by close of business on Tuesday, August 1 or dropped to a drop box location by 8 p.m. on election day.

Related: Drop box locations in Washington state

© 2017 KING-TV


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