Wanna Make a Difference? Vote!
November 8 will mark the nation’s first mid-term election day since the COVID-19 pandemic, giving voters still reeling from a fractured economy and many issues that have left us more and more divided to have a say about who leads us going forward.
Washington state will gain rare national attention during the election, as the outcome of several statewide races may decide which party controls the U.S. Senate and Congress. There are also a prosecuting attorney’s race, judgeships and ballot initiatives to be decided.
United Way of King County urges you to register to vote, then cast your ballot on November 8. The ability to make your voice heard at the ballot box is key to our democracy.
During this election cycle, we’ve asked United Way chief director for systems change & public policy Colleen Laing to chat about all things voting during the mid-term election.
United Way of King County: It seems that no two election cycles are the same; each election stands out for a particular race or amendment. What makes this election stand out?
Colleen Laing: Gosh, there are so many important races right now. One of the biggest is the prosecutor’s race. People often think about federal elections being more important, and a lot of people vote during presidential and congressional elections. But it’s the local elected officials and the local laws that affect people’s lives every day. When you think about selecting a prosecutor, we have radically different philosophies about prosecution these days. The criminal justice system is over 70 percent of the King County general fund.
[Prosecutor’s] policy decisions make a big difference around people’s experiences of community safety and they send a lot of important messages that law enforcement follows, even though law enforcement is a separate department.
United Way of King County: This year’s ballot is heavy on judgeships.Where are places voters can go to get information about such candidates?
The beautiful thing about the state of Washington’s voting system is that it’s 100% by mail if you want it to be. You vote in the safety of your own home.Colleen Laing, United Way director of systems change & public policy
Colleen Laing: There are a lot of bar associations, including BIPOC bar associations. That’s how I like to look at judge’s rankings. You can go to the King County Bar Association or the Washington State Bar Association and they will evaluate judicial candidates. But it’s even better to go to the Loren Miller Bar Association or the Latina/o Bar Association and see how they rank candidates.
United Way of King County: How concerned should a King County voter be about the type of voter intimidation tactics reported in other states?
Colleen Laing: The beautiful thing about the state of Washington’s voting system is that it’s 100% by mail if you want it to be. You vote in the safety of your own home. And you can drive up to an election drop box that gets emptied on election day by the Secretary of State’s office. It’s a super secure system, and there’s very little opportunity for voter intimidation.