It's that time again! The most important primary election of our lifetimes happens tomorrow. As a municipal government head, I’m only slightly exaggerating.

Tuesday, August 1, voters will choose which candidates advance to the November general election in races for county council, city council, port commission, and school board.

Of course, all the races are important–even if you have no idea what the port commission does–but the city council races could dramatically change the balance of power at City Hall. 

Right now, the council holds a progressive-ish majority, albeit a shaky one with moderates colluding more and more with the conservative bloc. But that could change for the worse because four city council members are not running for re-election, and another will likely leave for the county position she’s currently running for.

The open seats did not draw many outstanding, left candidates, but there’s still an opportunity to build a new council that’s less inclined to lick boots, clink glasses at happy hour with big business, kick unhoused people in the shins, or whatever the suits at City Hall do in their spare time. 

So far, the ballot return stats do not bode well for the historically lower-turnout left. 

Almost 1.4 million people are registered to vote in King County, but as of Monday morning, only 230,000 people–or about 16.75% of voters–have turned in a ballot. 

And the low turnout is not evenly distributed.

In Seattle, precincts with more homeowners, particularly near the waterfront, have turned in more ballots. On top of that, 44.5% of ballots come from voters above 65 and only about 13% come from voters under 35. Not to profile the homeowners or elder millennials and beyond, but those voters tend to elect more conservative candidates, such as our Republican City Attorney and other closeted Republicans in City Hall. 

Time to rally, hot young people! (And Gen X, apparently!) King County Elections

To keep conservatives from deciding the primary, you should probably vote, and do it exactly as we told you to. Here’s how!

How to Vote

If you’re registered to vote and your address is up to date as of last Tuesday, then your ballot should be in your mailbox or whatever surface you discard the things you don’t know what to do with. 

Rip it open, bubble in the questions according to The Stranger’s endorsements, stick it in the little envelope, sign the back, and run over to a dropbox sometime before 8 pm Tuesday. If you want to mail it in, you might be a little late. You should go to the post office and make sure it gets postmarked before that 8 pm cutoff.

That’s voting on easy-mode, but if you can’t find your ballot or you’re not registered, it's a little trickier, but it’s not impossible. Stay with me here. 

If you can’t find your ballot, you can print it off here or go vote the old-fashioned way at a voting center. 

If it turns out you are not registered to vote–you can check here if you don’t know–then you’ll have to pay a visit to a voting center sometime before 6 pm tonight or between 8:30 am and 8 pm on Election Day. Don’t forget to bring your Washington state driver’s license or a state ID, or memorize the last four digits of your social security number.

A spokesperson for King County Elections said that they project a turnout of about 35%. So far, we are on track, but you gotta get to the ballot box to make it happen!