By the time you read this, our community will likely have a strong sense of who has been chosen in the Nov. 7 general election.
As a refresher, The Beachcomber is laid out Tuesday mornings, or Nov. 7 this week; ballot drop boxes closed and election results began tabulating later that night; and the paper arrives in mailboxes on Thursday.
That means you won’t see election results in print until more than a week after election night. You will, however, be able to follow along with us in real-time as we post the returns on our website.
In Washington, a vote-by-mail state, election results are updated daily in the weeks after election night as ballots come trickling in.
In other words, races that are already close on election night can become marathons, especially in smaller communities like ours where the margins can be double or single digits.
The election results will be certified on Nov. 28, three weeks after election night. By this time, it’s unusual for an election’s outcome to still be in question, although it’s happened before.
Very rarely, the margin can be so close that the certification process swings the outcome of a race.
Again — that is extremely abnormal. Usually, we’re able to call half of the races on election night, or by the next morning. And by the end of this week, we’ll likely have called all but one or two of the closest races. Still, we’ll let you know when the results are certified — when the proverbial ink has dried.
If you learn that your ballot has been “challenged” — in other words, the county had a problem reading it and couldn’t count it — do not delay in “curing” or correcting the issues with it.
Some races in our state have been won or lost by margins smaller than the number of challenged ballots that weren’t resolved.
Think about that — people who already voted could have swung the race, had they just fixed their signature.
As a side note: Research has found that the ballots of some Washington state voters, such as younger people or those with Latino names, are disproportionally rejected or challenged, according to news outlet InvestigateWest.
So we certainly have work to do as a state to make the voting process more accessible and representative.
As the dust settles, you can expect us to cover the makeup of our local offices with a keen interest. That includes the Vashon Island School District board, our new representative on the King County Council, and the races for the Park and Cemetery districts and the Vashon Island Fire & Rescue board.
Running for office isn’t easy, and representing the public is a noble calling. We’re excited to get to know the newcomers and learn more about the returning incumbents. We’ll have our own questions for them, but we’ll want to hear from you too.
Thanks again for voting, and may the best candidates win.