Benton & Franklin County Primary Ballots to Drop This Week
The 2023 primary election is almost upon us, and the County Auditors in Benton and Franklin Counties are preparing to mail out ballots to registered voters this week.
A number of people wait until the general election to cast their vote and overlook the primary, but the primary election is very important for determining who you'll have to choose from on the November ballot.
Why Should I Vote in the Primary Election
Not every race is contested (meaning more than two people are running for the same office), but for those races that are, you determine which two candidates will make it to the general election. If you don't vote in the primary, everyone else has a say regarding who you will vote for in November. Even if your preferred candidate doesn't win, you still had a say in the result.
There are also special situations reserved for the primary instead of the general election. A prime example was in 2021 when Benton County voters participated in a recall election in the August primary regarding the future of then-Sheriff Jerry Hatcher. This August Benton County again has a recall on the ballot regarding the future of three members of the Richland School Board.
Board member Semi Bird, Board President Kari Williams, and Board Vice-President Audra Byrd face separate recall elections for decisions made during the COVID State of Emergency. The only residents in Benton County eligible to vote in the recall are those that live in the Richland School District.
What Races are on the Ballot This Year?
Outside of the Richland recall, there are contested City Council and School Board races along with Port Commissioner and Mayor races between the two Counties where two candidates with the most votes will move forward.
What if I'm Not Registered?
You can register to vote up until 8pm in person on election day. Check the Benton or Franklin County Auditor websites for where you can register in person. They also have information for online registration as well.
Then make sure you return your ballot via US Mail (postage paid by Washington State), or at a drop box location in the County where you are registered to vote. Ballots will be mailed this Wednesday July 12th in both Counties.