for Thurston County Voters
Welcome to the 2003 Thurston County Primary Local Voters' Pamphlet. This year's theme, "Express Yourself - VOTE," encourages voter participation. This fall, our community turns its attention to local elected offices. Think about it. We can't pave a street, dispatch a patrol car, equip a fire station, or place a textbook into a classroom without the action of local elected officials.
People who serve in offices on city/town councils, school boards, or fire commissions influence our daily lives more than the office of U.S. President. Ironically, history shows that voter turnout is at its lowest in odd-year elections. Without the national media coverage elections receive in even-year elections, many people forget to vote. Others simply find it difficult or impossible to make time in their busy schedules to get to the polls.
To help increase voter participation and reduce costs, the September Primary Election will be conducted by mail. Thurston County has conducted four vote-by-mail primary elections since 1993. This has increased primary election participation threefold. It has also saved the county money by conducting these elections entirely by mail. There will be no polling places open on September 16. Ballots will begin arriving in households on September 2.
This year's primary and general will be some of the last elections to use punch card voting in Thurston County. Congress passed sweeping legislation last spring, the Help America Vote Act, which will change the way we conduct elections. The biggest change will be the requirement for our county to replace the punch card voting system.
The Auditor's Office is currently seeking input from the public on the new voting system. For absentee voters, we will be utilizing optical scan technology. All candidates and issues are printed on the ballot and the voter fills in a bubble or square. For pollsite voters, we have the option of using optical scan ballots or direct recording electronic (DRE). Electronic voting is commonly referred to as touch screen voting.
You will find more information on the changes in this pamphlet and on our website. Please give us your feedback on how we should proceed. We will go through a bidding process for a new vote tabulation system at the end of this year and plan on using the new system in the 2004 Primary and General Elections.
As you use this year's Primary Local Voters' Pamphlet as a resource for voting information, I encourage you to think about our community and the direction you would like it to take in the future.
"Express Yourself - VOTE!"
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