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August 5, 2013 at 6:06 AM

Top 5 reasons to fill out your election ballot by Tuesday deadline

(Illustration by Gabriel Campanario / Seattle Times)

(Illustration by Gabriel Campanario / Seattle Times)

Add this item to your to-do list: Fill out and mail your primary election ballot. It’s due Tuesday.

You can decide who will advance in the Seattle mayor, Seattle City Council, King County Executive and Metropolitan King County Council races. The most contested race is the most important: the race for Seattle mayor, which has attracted nine candidates.

Choosing to save your vote for the general election in November is like only watching the season finale of “America’s Next Top Model.” The point is to evaluate how candidates respond to and survive the scrutiny of campaigning through the entire season, and give the strong candidates a boost now.

Our editorial board interviewed the candidates and researched them all to help you decide. Here are all of our recommendations to voters.

Here is all the information you need about how to vote from King County Elections.

And here are my top five reasons to vote in Tuesday’s election.

1 Our sorry state of traffic and mass transit.

Want more streetcars? Protected bike lanes? Do you want the city to legalize new ride services like UberX and Lyft?  The Seattle mayor and city council controls those transit options. Offices for both are contested this year.

Do you want Metro to cut services by 17 percent? King County is threatening the cuts after the state Legislature failed to grant the county a local tax option.  Sen. Ed Murray, who our board endorsed, is best positioned to bring Olympia and Seattle closer together.

2 The future of the city

If you want neighborhoods to all go the way of soul-less South Lake Union, then ignore the ballot. But if you want something more for Seattle neighborhoods than than a sterile strip of bars, barre classes and restaurants, then the races for Seattle mayor and City Council matter. The next mayor and city council will drive urban planning in neighborhoods.

The next Seattle mayor will lead the most dramatic makeover in the city for the next 50 years: the waterfront. He or she will also either be responsible for the renaissance or downward spiral of Seattle Center.

3 Make the city safer

The U.S. Department of Justice found use of excessive force in the Seattle Police Department and evidence of biased policing. Pike/Pine in downtown Seattle is an open-air drug market. The next mayor will get to hire a new police chief. Just sayin’.

4 Improving schools

As enrollment increases, the Seattle School Board remains mired in self-admitted dysfunction. The high school drop-out rate in the Seattle School district is 14 percent. And more students are joining the system. Board seats are up for election in the primary. The next mayor and city council could also step up and play a leadership role in improving our schools. I don’t have kids (and don’t plan to) but I still care deeply about public schools. Public safety, our economy and BTW, a democratic self-government relies entirely on ensuring every citizen is well educated.

5 It's the ultimate "like"

It’s the ultimate Facebook “like.” More satisfying than an “American Idol” vote.  We get to make the hiring decision. Don’t forget, the 2004 Washington state governor’s race was decided by 133 votes. (Here are the results from that election.) And for people who have all this down and have already voted, I recommend going another inception level deeper into politics and forming a political group. Check out my column last week “Raise your hands for a millennial PAC.”

Comments | More in List | Topics: 2013 elections


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