Issues could drive boost in general election turnout

Although the 2014 primary election produced relatively dismal voter turnout numbers countywide (28 percent) and statewide (31 percent), Secretary of State Kim Wyman is hoping several factors will turn those numbers around for the upcoming general election.

During a recent interview with the Post-Record, Wyman pointed to a handful of local and state issues she expects will boost those statistics.

“As we go into the general election, we will probably double (the primary election) turnout,” she said. “I think that the initiatives in this election is what will drive turnout.”

Those state-level initiatives will include proposals to lower class sizes, as well as one to require universal background checks on gun purchases and another to prohibit government agencies from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a national standard is required.

Locally, voters will decide on the proposed Home Rule Charter — an issue that would change Clark County’s government structure, a slew of county government positions including sheriff and commissioner, and an advisory vote on a toll-free east county bridge. The ballot will also include two City of Washougal and one East County Fire and Rescue levies related to emergency services.

In an effort to increase voter turnout, using funding from a federal grant, last week Wyman’s office started mailing out postcards to 210,000 eligible residents who aren’t registered to vote. The cards, which will continue to hit mailboxes this week, provide basic information on the simple process of registering. Oct. 6 is the deadline for online or mail-in voter registrations. Those who apply in person at the Clark County Elections Office have until Oct. 27.

Wyman summed up simply and effectively the importance of taking that step.

“We hope that citizens receiving the postcard will realize how easy it is to register online to vote here in Washington,” Wyman said. “Registering is that key step that will allow them to speak through their ballot on the important races and measures facing voters this fall.”