The local elections affect the community along with the college. Noted on the ballot is timing. In order for your vote to count, it must be postmarked by the election date, Nov. 5, or placed in a drop box by 8 p.m. Ballot boxes are located around Ellensburg, with one in front of SURC. Even now, ASCWU is sponsoring registration and you can change your registration up to election day, according to Mayor Bruce Tabb. Students can change their registration if they were already registered in a different district. Ballots can also be deposited on campus.
Mayor Tabb, who was elected by the city council, is currently in his third term as a city council member and mayor. Tabb mentions that as students that make up half of the Ellensburg population students should vote. According to Tabb, many of the students, 70-75%, are from the westside. Central Transit is one of the things that the city council has worked on in order to benefit the students and the community. Another issue that the city council has addressed is the Ellensburg housing situation. Tabb also addressed the affordable housing initiative that had passed. Because housing can charge premium prices on rent, the housing initiative was implemented. According to Tabb, this year is when the money allocated will be distributed.
“We would love to see students engaged because they can shape the future of the community in which they currently live in, but also have an impact for those that come after them,” Tabb said.
County Auditor, Jerry Pettit said information on candidates and the measures on the ballots are available online and on the voter’s pamphlet. If you don’t vote, you allow others make the decision for you. According to Pettit, votes do matter and it is important that you do vote.
Candidates for the County Commissioner includes Cory Wright, who prefers the Republican Party, and Nancy Liliquist, who prefers the Democratic Party. Positions for the Hospital District one, Commissioner, Position one, Position four, Ellensburg School District 401 Director, District 1, and city council positions six and seven are seats that have competition.
The advisory votes on the ballots and give feedback to government officials as they represent the opinions of the people regarding whether or not taxes are repealed or maintained.
The legislature proposed the Senate Joint Resolution 8200, which concerns legislative powers during times of emergency. The measure would add “catastrophic incidents” to the emergencies list, allowing for state and local government to take immediate action.
Initiative Measure No. 976
The Initiative Measure No. 976 concerns motor vehicle fees, which will be based on the Kelley Blue Book value. The measure would remove certain taxes and fees. License tabs would reduce their fee to $30.
Referendum Measure No. 88
The Referendum Measure No. 88 mentions the Initiative No. 1000 that was approved which was petitioned. Initiative No. 1000 was regarding affirmative action, which allowed the state to remedy discrimination for certain groups. Referendum measure No. 88 would affect many minorities.
For students that have registered to vote, changing registration can be important to having a voice in the Ellensburg community, according to Tabb. Students in the past have signed a petition regarding the environment, by getting an initiative to pass about plastic bags, students were able to have an impact strictly by using their voice.
With the beginning of the school year, students are more occupied with academics and transitioning.
“I’ve been so busy and overwhelmed and politics has been the last thing on my mind,” First year Anthony Kruger said.
According to Tabb, coming in as freshmen, students are most likely registered to vote where they are local. Tabb mentions that specifically, first year students will spend a chunk of their time at CWU, so voting in Ellensburg should be important as those decisions affect the community. Decisions about transit and the environment, are issues that resonate the most with students, so it is important to vote for candidates that align with personal views.
Lizbeth Farias, a sophomore, said she cares about politics, but doesn’t take the initiative to learn about it. She also said that she believes that her vote matters in her community and that she plans to register before elections and assist other students in voting.
“Get your ballots in before 8 o’clock or get them postmarked before 8 o’clock on election day,” said Pettit.