Ready to vote?

The General Election is tomorrow (Nov. 8), and, if you haven't mailed in your ballot yet, there is still time.

Ballots postmarked no later than Nov. 8 will be counted.

Sunnyside voters may take their ballots to the Sunnyside Community Center on First Street (next to South Hill Park) on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Yakima County Auditor's office can even supply voters with replacement ballots on Election Day, if ballots have been lost, destroyed or not received.

Voters, who find themselves in one of those situations, should go to the auditor's office at the Yakima County Courthouse at 128 N. Second Street, Room 117 in Yakima either today or tomorrow at any time from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can vote on the premises and deposit ballots in a ballot box provided there.

Ballots for the General Election should have been received by Oct. 28.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed is predicting that 60 percent of registered voters will cast ballots in the General Election.

"There's a lot at stake on this ballot," said Reed. "Medical malpractice, smoking and the gas tax are hot, controversial issues that impact most everyone."

In addition, Reed said he expects an increase in turnout compared to other similar elections because 28 of Washington's 39 counties, such as Yakima County, will vote entirely by mail. In the state of Oregon, turnout increased by about 10 percent when that state switched to hold all-mail elections.

To reach his prediction, Reed used turnout statistics from 2003 (40.49% voted), 2001 (44.5%), 1999 (58%), 1997 (57%) and 1991 (67.9%).

In 1991, with the highest turnout in those years, voters were voting on initiatives dealing with abortion, adult euthanasia, property taxes and term limits.

The next highest turnout, in 1999, had Initiative I-695 (car tabs) on the ballot. In 1997, third highest turnout year, initiatives dealt with handguns, sexual orientation and drug possession penalties.

"I urge every registered voter to participate Tuesday," said Reed. "These contests and measure impact our communities and our lives. We owe it to our own families and to this state to exercise our right to vote."


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