Only 15 percent of registered voters have cast their votes so far. Thats below projections.
Only 15 percent of registered voters have cast their votes so far. That's below projections. SUZIFOO/GETTY IMAGES

It's 2020 and it's voting time. The primary election is on Tuesday, August 4. With a global pandemic that's not going anywhere, centuries of systemic institutional racism boiling over into months of protests (that the right elected might do something about!), and an economic depression on the horizon, it's really fucking important that you vote.

Thankfully, Washington already operates on a vote-by-mail system so we're equipped to handle all the current cataclysms. That means there's no excuse for not voting.

But, currently in King County only around 15 percent of registered voters have returned their ballots. That's around three to four percentage points below where King County Elections thought return rates would be at this stage, Kendall Hodson, chief of staff at King County Elections told me.

Guys, c'mon. We're better than this. Vote.

But how?

You should have received your ballot in the mail already. If it's sitting there gathering dust read this, fill out your ballot, and put it in your mailbox. King County Elections recommends that you mail in your ballot before election day so that it can be postmarked by August 4. If you want to mail it in on election day, bring it physically to the post office to make sure it's postmarked correctly. There are ballot boxes scattered across the city that are open for business right now up until the end of day (8 p.m.) on election day.

But what if you never got a ballot? Or you forgot to register? It's not too late.

No ballot, no problem
If you're registered to vote but either lost your ballot or never received your ballot, all you've got to do is print out a new one, fill it out, and turn that in.

Or, you can vote in person at voting centers in King County.

Day-of registration and in-person voting:
If you haven't registered, you've already missed the boat on the 8-day cut-off for changes to vote-by-mail registration since the primary is in—I repeat—SIX DAYS. But you can still register to vote at a voting center where you can physically fill in and cast your ballot.

Last year, King County Elections opened six vote centers across the county. This year, there are only two because of COVID-19. One is at CenturyLink Field Event Center and one in Renton.

"For this primary election," Hodson said, "we’ve elected to provide vote centers just in Seattle and Renton. This was a really difficult decision but, at the end of the day, we decided we were only comfortable opening locations that we knew we could operate safely and we simply didn’t have the knowledge or capacity to figure out how to do that at six different locations. We will have more locations open for the November election and, as always, if a voter can’t access one of our in-person sites we always want them to call us so we can figure out a solution."

CenturyLink Field Event Center will be open to voters Saturday, August 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday, August 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on Tuesday, August 4 (ELECTION DAY) from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

There will be both walk-up and drive-up curbside service in the event center on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. You can pre-order a replacement ballot here to make the process go quicker.

To register at one of these places, all you'll need is a number from your Washington State driver's license, a State ID, or the last four digits of your social security number. That's it. No permanent address is necessary for same-day voter registration.

Why vote?
This primary election will decide which candidates for important local and state positions make it onto the general election ballot in November. This is your chance to choose who you want your representative to be for issues that will impact your daily life going forward.

Don't want transit to be carved up and gutted? Vote for people who give a shit. Don't want to re-elect a middle-of-the-road Democrat to the queerest district in the Legislature for the gazillionth time? Cool, vote for the non-binary grassroots activist running against him. Do you think Gov. Jay Inslee has been doing a standup job (or at least an okay enough job)? Well, vote for him instead of the small-town sheriff who has defied gun control laws or the tax gremlin/office chair thief liberator running against him.

There's so much more to vote on and your vote matters. We've sifted through all the nothing candidates, sat in Zoom meetings with all the actual candidates, and spiced up boring political mumbo jumbo enough to make it readable because it matters. Read up and vote. You have six days.