The first district-based primary in more than 100 years could be something of a spectator sport. As of Monday night, only 16.5 percent of Seattle’s 414,000 registered voters had returned their ballots. Lackluster numbers aside, the election is significant.
As debates over growth, affordability, transportation and public safety simmer and bubble, all nine positions are up for grabs. The potential for change is enormous.
Until this year, positions for the Seattle City Council have all been chosen citywide. But, largely through the efforts of Faye Garneau of the Aurora Avenue Merchants Association, voters decided in 2013 to divide the city into seven districts roughly correlating with existing Seattle neighborhoods. Two seats will remain citywide.
Garneau, who lives in what she believes to be the neglected north end of Seattle, wanted to see candidates reach out to the community on a more micro-level. So far, she likes what she’s seen. “I’m thrilled. I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Garneau on Monday. “The candidates have gone out to the people. And that’s what I was trying to achieve. The government belongs to the people.”
Tonight, 47 wannabe council members will be whittled to 18.