Washington state voters are currently or will very soon be receiving a valuable resource to understanding the issues on November's ballot: the statewide Voters Pamphlet for the 2012 General Election.
Nearly all of the Voters Pamphlets are being delivered this week, around the same time Washington voters receive their ballots.
"This is a very important election, with many races and measures on the ballot, so I encourage all voters to take time to become more informed," said Secretary of State Sam Reed.
This year's Voters Pamphlet is especially large due to so many races and ballot measures, as well as a federal law requiring voting information materials be available in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese in certain counties.
The Yakima County edition, in English and Spanish, is 240 pages long. The pamphlet is printed on recycled paper. Despite the size, each pamphlet costs roughly the same as a postage stamp to print and ship to every household in the state.
The Voters Pamphlet includes useful information about the candidates and measures that will be on the ballot in this important election.
Races include U.S. President; the U.S. Senate match-up between Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner; all 10 U.S. House contests, all state executive offices, including open positions for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and auditor; all 98 state House seats and about half of the state Senate races; one contested State Supreme Court contest; and other races.
Also found in the Voters Pamphlet are for and against statements and the entire text of the statewide ballot measures, including Initiative 502 (marijuana legalization); I-1185 (limiting tax and fee increases); I-1240 (authorizing charter schools); Referendum 74 (legalizing same-sex marriage); two constitutional amendments (one dealing with the state's debt limit, the other regarding investments by the University of Washington and Washington State University); and two state advisory votes.
About 3.3 million pamphlets are being sent to all Washington households, as required by the state constitution.
People who do not receive a ballot or Voters Pamphlet by Oct. 24 should call the voter hotline at (800) 448-4881 for assistance.
More information can also be found online at http://www.sos.wa.gov/.