(The Center Square) – Tuesday, Aug. 1, is primary election day in Washington state.

Nearly 3,400 local elective offices across the state are up for election this year, and Tuesday’s primary will narrow the field in contested races with three or more candidates. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 7 general election.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state. Ballots were mailed out earlier this month.

To be counted, ballots must be postmarked or delivered to drop-box sites or county elections departments by 8 p.m. on Tuesday. The U.S. Postal Service recommends submitting mail ballots several days before that deadline.

Local results must be certified by county canvassing boards on Aug. 15; statewide tallies by Aug. 18 at the Secretary of State’s Office.

What voters see on their primary ballot depends on what’s happening in their local communities. Registered voters should have automatically received a ballot in the mail if there are primary challenges in their area. Virtually all of the local elective positions are non-partisan, with most terms beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

Voters may also see certain measures, such as levy or bond propositions, in some areas.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, there are 254 contested primary races in 36 of Washington’s 39 counties involving 845 candidates. They include 22 mayoral races, 92 city council or municipal positions, 90 school board seats, 15 county positions and 26 other positions such as port, hospital, water, and parks/recreation commissions.

Additionally, there are 74 different ballot propositions around the state, including 51 affecting fire districts, nine for city governments, four each for hospital and park districts plus three others.

The only counties with no primary races or measures next week are Columbia, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties.

Washington state currently has over 4.8 million active voters, with nearly 3.83 million of them – 78.6% – eligible to vote in the primary.

July 24 was the last day to register online to vote in the primary. However, prospective voters can still register in person at their county elections department until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

For voter registration information, drop box locations, ballot status, voter guides, and more, visit online at VoteWa.gov.

For election results, data and statistics, and county contact information, visit sos.wa.gov/elections.

For the second consecutive year, the Secretary of State’s office will provide each county’s elections office with up to $80,000 to improve election security. More than $3 million is available statewide through the Information Security Funds program, which counties can use to purchase or upgrade their security software and hardware, hire IT security personnel, make structural improvements and more.

Last year, 25 counties applied for funding.

The program provides flexibility to address multiple critical issues at a time of “inconsistent federal support for local election protection,” Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said in a statement earlier this month.

“Election security and protecting our election systems from cyber threats remain my office’s top priority,” said Hobbs. “A significant amount of work to secure our elections, however, resides at the county level. This additional funding will go a long way in helping counties enhance their election security efforts, especially as cyber threats continue to escalate in severity and frequency.”

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