Not a Drill! It’s Time to Vote!

Primary elections are held in Washington State August 2nd. These are extremely important yet often overlooked elections. It’s imperative that those of us trying to change historically racist systems vote in the primary.


What is a Primary Election?

The primary election is used either to narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office or to determine the nominees for political parties prior to a general election. In Washington State all candidates are listed on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of their party affiliations, advance to the general election. It is possible for two candidates belonging to the same political party to win and face off in the general election.


Why Does the Primary Election Matter? 

The primary has multiple candidates to choose from making it an opportunity to vote based on our values. Sending those candidates on to the general election. If we don’t vote in the primary we have no say as to who is on the ballot for the general election.

Even if a candidate doesn’t win a primary, their percentage of votes could still make an impact on the winning candidate’s platform in the general election. When voters turnout in primaries, campaigns develop a greater understanding of what the people actually care about.


Why It Matters Now More Than Ever

Historically primary elections draw extremist voters. It’s how extremist candidates end up on ballots. General less passionate voters tend to ignore primary elections. In 2022 several states, including California, are already seeing low turnout among progressive voters with conservative  turnout higher than in 2018.

This year in San Francisco, voters recalled Chesa Boudin, a public defender-turned district attorney. Boudin’s philosophy of not prosecuting low-level criminal activity and abolishing cash bail was villainized as contributing to increased crime.

In the Los Angeles mayoral race, billionaire Rick Caruso campaigned as a crime-fighter and has won his primary as well.

While the circumstances around both are complex, these two results, in progressive cities, highlight that one major point of attack used against candidates wanting to tackle systemic racism, is the perception that crime is on the rise specifically because of policies necessary for harm reduction to black and brown communities.


Why Does It Matter In Spokane County? 

Several candidates running in the August 2nd Primary are vying for positions directly affecting issues related to the criminal legal system. The Spokane County Prosecutor, County Commissioners, and Spokane County Sheriff’s position are all being primaried.

Notably, incumbent Larry Haskell is running for Spokane County Prosecutor in the primary against three other candidates. Because Washington uses a top-two primary system, any two candidates for County Prosecutors can advance to the general election.

Meanwhile, all five county commissioner districts are up for election. County Commissioners play a decision-making role in regard to funding and management of jails, the Sheriff’s Department, diversion services, alternative courts such as Drug Court and DV Court, and more.


If You Want to Be Anti Racist You Have to Show Up for Primary Elections 

No matter how disenfranchised or hopeless we may feel about the state of our democracy, or the candidates we have to choose from, one of our most important responsibilities is to vote for people who support anti racist policies. The only way to get them in office is get them through to the general election.


Vote in the Primary Election! Here’s How: 

Registration for primary voting ended July 25th, 2022. If you missed it please register to vote in the next election. 

For drop-off: Ballot boxes are available starting July 14th and close exactly at 8pm August 2nd. No postage required. Mail in ballots must be postmarked by August 2nd, 2022. Voter Service Centers can be found online.

Voter Service Centers

Current Election


There Is Still Time to Register and Vote In Person for the August Primary

Voter Service Centers

  • Voter Service Centers are open to:

  • Register to vote or update your registration

  • Drop off your ballot

  • Get a replacement ballot or envelope

  • Use an Accessible Voting Unit

  • Get answers to your voting questions


Voter Service Centers Locations

Downtown Spokane

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Election Day, Tuesday, August 2, 2022: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Spokane Valley

  • Monday, August 1, 2022: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Election Day, Tuesday, August 2, 2022: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Primary Only Voters

  • New in 2022! A voter who turns 18 between the August Primary and the November General Election can vote in the Primary!

    Learn More