The Seattle Procrastinator’s Guide to the Election

Editor’s note: Learn about judicial races and measures on your ballot in part two of our election guide.

There isn’t a good reason not to vote, but we do understand that sometimes it can be daunting to look at your ballot.  So that’s why we’ve made you this guide to help answer some questions on how to vote and what’s on the ballot this election. For the sake of time, we picked a few races we felt were the most competitive to focus on. We also decided to break this election guide into two sections. This first part covers all the legislative races on the ballot and part two will dig into the different measures and judiciary candidates.

Hopefully, you find this helpful, even if it all you get from it is a reminder to vote — we count that as a win.

Voting FAQ

  • When is election day? Tuesday, Nov. 3rd! 
  • When are ballots mailed out to voters? At least 18 days before each election. 
  • Do I need to pay for return postage? No, Washington state is cool like that and you get a return envelope with prepaid postage. 
  • What is the latest I can return my ballot? For the record, we recommend you return your ballot asap. But if it’s down to the wire, you can return your ballot to a drop box before 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Where is the closest drop box to me? Look at a map here for ones in King County. They’re open 24 hours a day starting Oct. 15. 
  • Can I vote in-person this election? Yes! Maybe you’re paranoid or just want the full experience of voting in-person, either way, you can expect your county’s voting center to be open during business hours starting Oct. 14. Find your nearest voting center here. And remember to wear a mask.
  • I don’t know if I’m registered, how do I check? You can check if you’re registered and, if you need to, update your voter information here
  • Is it too late to register? How do I do that? No, it is not too late to register. You can do it three different ways.
    • Online: You need a WA state driver’s license OR a current WA state ID card. Visit the WA Secretary of State’s website. (Must be received by Oct. 26)
    • By mail: Print of a voter registration form and mail it to King County Elections. Forms are available in different languages. (Must be received by Oct. 26)
    • In-person: Visit the King County Elections Office in Renton or a Vote Center OR a community event. (Option available until 8 p.m. Election Day at County Elections Office)
  • Mailing things stresses me out, is there a way to track my ballot? Cool, us too! You can do that by checking here
  • I lost my voter’s pamphlet, help. Don’t worry, keep reading for our own guide on important races and then take a look at the online copy of all the state’s races here.

***Asterisks next to candidate names indicate the incumbent.***

🗳 Lt. Governor

Why is this race important? If Joe Biden is elected president, there’s a chance that Gov. Jay Inslee would be offered a cabinet position, in which case the lieutenant governor would become our governor.
Context: Current Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib is not seeking re-election to join the Society of Jesus. The race to replace him is between Denny Heck — a Democrat and former U.S. congressman — and Marko Liias — a Democrat and current state senator.
What does a lieutenant governor do? Besides filling in for the governor as needed, the LG has two other responsibilities: presiding over the Washington State Senate and serving as a bridge between the consuls based in cities in the PNW and Washington state.
Recommended reading:

  • Washington’s next Lieutenant Governor will be either Denny Heck or Marko Liias, it seems (NW Progressive)
  • Q&A: Sen. Marko Liias makes his case for a progressive Lt. Governorship (WA State Wire)
  • Q&A: Denny Heck wants to prioritize political civility and economic growth as Lt. Governor (WA State Wire)
  • Political dominoes could make Lt. Governor’s race the one to watch in 2020 (The News Tribune)

🔵 Denny Heck (D)

Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Quote: “I began my adult career as a professional staff member in the legislature. With Lt Governor, the first question always has to be: is this person ready to be governor if necessary? I am.” (Lynwood Times)
Endorsements: Former Governor Christine Gregoire, Washington State Labor Council, King County Democrats

🔵 Marko Liias (D)

Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Quote: “I think there’s also a measure of urgency that I bring. I think it’s time to push harder and push farther.” (The Columbian)
Endorsements: WA State Labor Council, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, LGBTQ Victory Fund, WA Democratic Latino Caucus


🗳 Secretary of State

Why is this race important? The Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for registering voters and overseeing the state’s elections.
Context: Kim Wyman is the incumbent and has been since 2012. Her Democratic challenger, Gael Tarleton, has served in the state’s legislature since 2013.
What does the Secretary of State do? In addition to overseeing voter registration and elections they are the “Keeper of the Seal” (which is exactly what it sounds like, they just oversee the use of the Seal of Washington), and they also act as the Registrar of Corporations.
Recommended reading:

  • How a blue state Republican became the face of mail-in voting (LA Times)
  • Secretary of State candidates share how they’d improve Washington’s election system (My Northwest)
  • How Washington state holds its elections by mail (The New Yorker)

🔵 Gael Tarleton (D)

Connect: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Quote: “Make no mistake—she [Kim Wyman] has this support because she has been silent, refusing to stand up for Washington while Donald Trump has undermined faith in our state’s election system and led an assault on voting rights throughout the country.” (The Seattle Times)
Endorsements: Governor Inslee, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, King County Democrats

🔴 Kim Wyman (R)

Connect: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Quote: “If the president wants to rant and rave about how insecure vote by mail is or how our elections are going to be rigged…I’m going to spend my time talking about the facts, and no, I’m not going to get mired down in some sort of political debate and posturing.” (The News Tribune)
Endorsements: The Seattle Times, Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee, Former Governor Dan Evans

🗳 Other state-level races:

🔵 Jay Inslee (D)*
🔴 Lauren Culp (R)

State Treasurer
🔵 Mike Pellicciotti (D)
🔴 Duane A. Davidson (R)*

State Auditor
🔵 Pat (Patrice) McCarthy (D)*
🔴 Chris Leyba (R)

Attorney General
🔵 Bob Ferguson (D)*
🔴 Matt Larkin (R)

Commissioner of Public Lands
🔵 Hilary Franz (D)*
🔴 Sue Kuehl Pederson (R)

Superintendent of Public Instruction
Chris Reykdal*
Maia Espinoza

Insurance Commissioner
🔵 Mike Kreidler (D)*
🔴 Chirayu Avinash Patel (R)

🗳 Legislative District 36, State Rep Pos. 2

Why is this race important? There is no incumbent for this position.
Context: Gael Tarleton is leaving the position to run for the Secretary of State
What area does Legislative District 36 cover? Here’s a map. Mainly it’s Queen Anne, Ballard, and Magnolia.
Recommended reading:

  • 2020 Endorsement Questionnaire: Liz Berry, LD36-2 (The Urbanist)
  • 2020 Endorsement Questionnaire: Sarah Reyneveld, LD36-2 (The Urbanist)

🔵 Liz Berry (D)

Connect: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Quote: “I’ve spent much of my adult life supporting and recruiting women to run for public office. Now I’m taking my own advice. I am running to fight for fairness, lift up working families and children, and bring affordability back to our region.” (Liz Berry)
Endorsements: U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, Washington State Labor Council, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Fuse Washington

🔵 Sarah Reyneveld (D)

Connect: Website, Facebook
Quote: “Being involved in the political process is so important right now because we’re at this turning point in the legislature where we can either make further deep cuts or we can pass new revenue and invest in workers and our economy. Hopefully, we can reduce the numbers of cuts that are made.” (Washington Federation of State Employees)
Endorsements: Attorney General Bob Ferguson, The Seattle Times, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, King County Democrats

🗳 Legislative District 37, State Rep Pos. 2

Why is this race important? It’s the other race for the state legislature with no incumbent running.
Context: This is an open seat after Eric Pettigrew (D) announced he would not seek re-election and instead take a job with NHL Seattle.
What area does Legislative District 37 cover? Here’s a map. It covers Beacon Hill, the Central District, Rainier Valley, Columbia City, Rainier Beach and Renton.
Recommended reading:

  • Got your ballot? 37th Legislative District positions 1 and 2 candidates speak at community forum (South Seattle Emerald)
  • Rep. Pettigrew to retire from Legislature in January 2021 (WA State Wire)
  • City employee, entrepreneur, and community activist Chukundi Salisbury brings his life experience to 37th District contest (International Examiner)
  • Women In Politics: Kirsten Harris-Talley on Her Evolution From Activist to Running for State Representative in Seattle’s 37th District (The Fold Mag)

🔵 Kristen Harris-Talley (D)

Connect: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Quote: “No one thought a democracy could work when the entire globe was lead by kings. It took activism and revolution to make that a reality, but it first took a vision of decades. That’s what is exciting about this moment.” (The Fold Mag)
Endorsements: U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, King County Democrats, Women of Color in Politics, The Urbanist

🔵 Chukundi Salisbury (D)

Connect: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Quote: “I represent a population of this state that has never had a real voice in Olympia. I’m in touch with my community that no candidate is and I plan to bring that part of the community to Olympia.” (The Urbanist)
Endorsements: The Seattle Times, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Former King County Councilmember Larry Gossett

🗳 Other state legislative races

Legislative District 11, State Senator
🔵 Bob Hasegawa (D)*

Legislative District 11, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 David Hackney (D)
🔵 Zack Hudgins (D)* 

Legislative District 11, State Rep Pos. 2
🔵 Steve Bergquist (D)*
🔴 Sean Atchison (R)

Legislative District 32, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 Cindy Ryu (D)*
🔵 Shirley Sutton (D)

Legislative District 32, State Rep Pos. 2
🔵 Lauren Davis (D)*
Tamra Smilanich (Non-Partisan)

Legislative District 33, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 Tina L. Orwall (D)*
🔴 Kerry French (R)

Legislative District 33, State Rep Pos. 2
🔵 Mia Su-Ling Gregerson (D)*
Marliza Melzer (Libertarian)

Legislative District 34, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 Eileen L. Cody (D)*

Legislative District 34, State Rep Pos. 2
🔵 Joe Fitzgibbon (D)*

Legislative District 36, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 Noel Christina Frame (D)*

Legislative District 37, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 Sharon Tomiko Santos (D)*
🔵 John Stafford (D)

Legislative District 43, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 Nicole Macri (D)*
🔴 Leslie Klein (R) 

Legislative District 43, State Rep Pos. 2
🔵 Frank Chopp (D)*
Sherae Lascelles (Seattle People’s Party)

Legislative District 46, State Rep Pos. 1
🔵 Gerry Pollet (D)*
🔴 Eric J. Brown (R)

Legislative District 46, State Rep Pos. 2
🔵 Javier Valdez (D)*
🔴 Beth Daranciang (R)

Looking for more candidate information? Let the non-partisan Vote411 tell you who’s on your ballot and what their priorities are by entering your home address here.

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