Ballots go out in the mail today

Grays Harbor and Pacific county have seen an uptick in new voter registrations compared to just four years ago.

County Auditors for both counties say they’ll send ballots out in the mail today.

Grays Harbor will send out 37,967 ballots — an increase of nearly 1,300 ballots from just four years ago. Pacific County will send out 13,355 ballots, up a few hundred from the last presidential election.

“We’ve just gotten so many new voters that I’m really hoping for a big turnout,” said Grays Harbor Elections Administrator Julie Colacurcio.

Interest should be high in both counties, not only because of the competitive presidential and gubernatorial elections, but because of local races, as well.

In Pacific County, former county commissioners Jon Kaino and Bud Cuffel decided not to seek re-election, creating wide-open races. Democrats Frank Wolfe and Rich Makowski are vying for Cuffel’s old seat on the Long Beach Peninsula. Democrat Steve Rogers and Republican Scott McDougall are vying for Kaino’s old seat. McDougall is hoping to break a trend where voters haven’t elected a Republican to the county commission since 1972.

In Grays Harbor, there’s competitive county commission races between incumbent Democratic Commissioner Terry Willis and Republican Wes Cormier along with Democrat Frank Gordon and Republican Allan Shores. Both Cormier and Shores are hoping to join incumbent Commissioner Herb Welch to make up Grays Harbor’s first Republican commission majority since the 1930s.

There’s also the open Grays Harbor PUD commission seat of retiring Commissioner Tom Casey. Both Chris Thomas and Arie Callaghan are competing for that non-partisan seat.

Voters who don’t get their ballot by Oct. 22, should contact their county auditor’s office for a replacement.

The Secretary of State’s Office reports that it’s too late to register to vote for address changes and new registrations submitted by mail or online. However, first-time Washington state residents can continue to register in person at the auditor’s office in their county through Oct. 29.

Ballots must be postmarked no later than Nov. 6, Election Day or returned to a designated ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Grays Harbor has two 24-hour drive-up ballot boxes — one, curbside, in front of the County Administration Building in Montesano and the other at the Grays Harbor YMCA in Hoquiam. On Election Day, there should also be drop boxes scattered throughout the county.

Pacific County has two drive-up boxes as well, one at the county courthouse in South Bend and the other at the County Administration Building in Long Beach.