It's time for you to register to vote
By Thunderword Staff
Fall elections are just around the corner, so it's time to get ready to vote.
All United States citizens who are 18 or older, legal residents of Washington, and are not under Department of Corrections supervision for a Washington felony conviction or disqualified from voting due to a court order are allowed to register to vote.
Online registration, mail registration forms, and directions to county elections departments are available at www.vote. wa.gov. Those who are not registered will not get a ballot.
Online and mail-in regis- tration is available until
Oct. 9. In-person registration is open at coun- ty elections offices until
Oct. 29. Highline stu- dents also have the opportuni- ty to register through an on-cam- pus voting drive on Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Union, where computers will be available to register online. Ballots will be sent on Oct.19, beginning an 18-day period for voters to send their ballots back to the county, either via mail or a ballot drop box. There is a county drop box on cam- pus, next to the bus loop.
Why vote? Elections are a basic principle of democracy, giving citizens the opportunity to decide the direction of their government. Along with choosing representatives, voters have the opportunity to elect judges, and approve referendums and initiatives.
This year's election decides seats in the state Legislature, Con- gress, and superior courts. Initiative topics include a proposed carbon emissions tax, raising the legal age to buy a gun to 21, changing the state minimum wage, and a variety of tax changes.
Some people choose not to vote as an act of protest. This act is ineffective, passing up the chance to be heard. Not voting gives your right to decide to the other voters, many of whom you may disagree with. If you want a policy maker to address the protested issue, then you need to choose a policy maker.
The protest vote is also not effective at bringing attention to issues. No one can tell why a ballot isn't turned in. Not voting out of protest makes no bigger impact than not voting out of laziness.
No candidate or ordinance is perfect, meaning your views may not match perfectly. Vote for the candidate whose views and policies you most agree with, regardless of party. Look at the candidate's position on each issue, as party can be a broad description. Information on each candidate can be found in the mailed voter's pamphlet as well as online at https://www. sos.wa.gov/elections/research/2018-voters-pamphlet.aspx.
While this election is not presidential, the races are no less important. At the federal level, one senate and four house seats are on the ballot in King County alone. These congressional races are some of the most contentious in the nation as many voting districts in Western Washington are fairly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As a result, both the Democrat and Republican parties are going to spend more money on fliers, mailers, and ads, all trying to win votes of undecided voters.
However, don't let political hype for this election dissuade you from voting. Be educated on the issues that matter most to you. Every vote counts, including yours.