It’s Primary Election Day in Washington. Here’s what to know

We review the local races, initiatives and last-minute info you need before the polls close at 8 p.m.

buttons and stickers saying "i voted" sit on a table

“I Voted” stickers at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Jovelle Tamayo for Crosscut)

Good morning. It is Primary Election Day in Washington and there’s a lot at stake.

In Seattle, seven of the nine City Council seats are up for grabs, leaving lots of room for a shift in city politics. On top of that, just three of the seven Council incumbents up for re-election have opted to run: Councilmember Tammy Morales in District 2, Councilmember Dan Strauss in District 6, and Councilmember Andrew Lewis in District 7. That leaves wide-open races in Districts 1, 3, 4 and 5.

There’s no shortage of critical issues for future City Council members to address. Homelessness, policing, public safety, the opioid crisis and the city’s post-pandemic recovery rank high among residents’ concerns. Who makes it through to the general election on Nov. 7 will help illustrate which way Seattle’s political winds are blowing.

Will the top vote-getters be progressives promising to tackle the root causes of homelessness, or conservatives promising more encampment sweeps? Or perhaps some of both groups? Will voters rally behind someone who wants to move money into police alternatives, or who will call to hire more officers? Will it be a general-election showdown between left and right, or will Seattle be deciding among candidates somewhere in between?

Seattle voters (depending on where they live) also will decide on a Port Commissioner, two School Board members, two King County Councilmembers, and whether or not to renew the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy.

There are plenty of local elections outside of Seattle as well, where similarly pressing concerns about housing affordability, homelessness, public safety and policing are motivating voters. In addition to Seattle results, Crosscut is tracking elections in Bellingham, Spokane, Tacoma and Yakima.

Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to drop off their ballots or get them mailed and processed. Because getting your envelope postmarked on Tuesday evening after post offices are closed is unlikely, ballot drop boxes are your best bet. The Secretary of State’s Office maintains this map of drop boxes statewide.

Another way to vote on Tuesday is to visit your county elections office. This is also how you can register to vote on Election Day and pick up a new ballot if you can’t find yours. If you need extra help voting — because of a disability, for example — the county elections office is also the right place to go. If you know someone who would prefer to fill out a ballot in another language, county elections offices can provide translated ballots.

If you have your ballot but need more information about the people listed, check out Crosscut’s voter guide, where you may also find answers to your other election questions, such as: How does the top-two primary work? Why are some races not included on the primary ballot?

The first election results will be posted on Tuesday after 8 p.m. on county election sites. In many races, counties will be counting ballots for a few days before the results are clear. Crosscut’s election results page will be updated after 8 p.m. Tuesday and every afternoon this week.

Just over a third of registered voters are expected to vote in the primary of an odd-year election in Washington state. As of Monday afternoon, about 16% of King County registered voters had turned in their ballots, according to the King Elections Office.

You can track your ballot’s progress through the system and make sure it has been accepted and counted at If you remembered to put your phone number or email address on the outside of your ballot envelope, you may receive an email, phone call or text message if your ballot signature does not match your voter registration. But paying attention to your ballot status on is both fun and useful, in case your signature has been questioned. 

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