Opinion

Local primary outcome hinges on voter turnout

With the calendar turning the page to August just days ago, many people are scurrying off for those last before school getaways to enjoy sunny beaches or majestic mountain splendors in search of some rest and relaxation.

One of the last things on anyone's right mind is politics, but in less than three weeks, ballots will be arriving in the mail for the state's Aug. 21 primary election.

In Bremerton that has significant meaning for only four office-seekers as Trent England, Carlos Jara, Roy Runyon and Virginia Starr have their hopes set on being in the top two once all the votes are tallied.

One of the four will be the city's newest District 4 City Council representative on Nov. 6 as incumbent Wendy Priest has decided not to seek a second term.

With no incumbent having a perceived built-in advantage over a field of challengers, the fate of each four isn't in their hands, but rather the hands of those in that district, who decide to fulfill their civic duty and vote.

In 2003, before the all mail-in voting system was implemented in Kitsap County and statewide, there were 1,057 registered voters in the district, and it's safe to assume those numbers haven't changed all that much.

However, of those more than 1,000 registered voters, less than 500 cast their votes in a race, which was decided by 67 votes.

Although, math may not be the strongest suit of editors and reporters, the numbers in this one should almost be elementary, as long as one factors in a couple of logical assumptions.

Among those assumptions are: turnout in the primary isn't going to be nearly as high as it will be in the general election and that because of the late summer election date that turnout will be even lower.

Let's say that 500 voters happen to either be in town to fill out their ballots or are extraordinarily civic-minded and fill them out and mail them in before they go on vacation.

If every candidate receives an equal number of votes, they would have 125 votes each. However, that won't be the case, so 126 is the magic number to guarantee a spot in the general election.

With 126 votes needed at a minimum to earn a spot in the November election, residents in District 4 will probably be seeing an awful lot of the four candidates, because in this race every vote literally counts.

It's a guessing game at best to say which two of the four candidates will emerge unscathed from the primary, but for those who are interested in finding out more about the four, their candidate profiles are on the Patriot's Web site, www.bremertonpatriot.com under its elections link.

In a new twist for the Patriot, our newly formed editorial board will be tackling the daunting task of endorsing two of the four viable candidates to advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

It's our way of encouraging our readers to do their civic duty and vote for the best candidates based upon their qualifications and not their wardrobe or political lineage.

But just because two of the four candidates will receive endorsements, there's no guarantee they will move on to November.

The registered voters in District 4 will have their say on Aug. 21, but sadly that may be less than 1 in 3 who actually cast their ballots.

The rest of them will be out enjoying what's left of summer, which makes voter turnout, not political clout or money, the ultimate deciding factor in this race.

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