About half the voters in Yakima County this week will receive a piece of mail that will be well worth their attention. Today, the Yakima County Auditor’s Office will mail out ballots for the Aug. 6 primary election for local races that have three or more candidates. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 5 general election

The positions include city council contests in Yakima and Sunnyside; a school board seat in Toppenish and a post in the Selah-based Yakima County Fire District No. 2. City of Yakima voters also will decide whether to change the city’s charter to create a dedicated road improvement fund. So voters in three of the county’s four largest cities have something of interest on the ballot. In Benton County, Prosser voters will weigh in on a council race.

Ballots need to be postmarked on or before Aug. 6. Those who haven’t registered can do so until July 29, but they must register in person at their respective county courthouse. This also applies to those who are registered but want their information updated, such as a new address or a name change.

The Yakima Herald-Republic began its election coverage Sunday with a report on a Yakima City Council race. Coverage has continued through the week; the published stories are available at yakimaherald.com. The Yakima County Auditor’s Office also offers candidate statements and photos at its website, yakimacounty.us/vote.

Primaries in off-year elections usually garner low interest among the electorate. That means each vote carries more clout in the final outcome for officials who make decisions affecting the day-to-day lives of the citizenry. These elections admittedly don’t carry the pizazz of last November’s presidential race, but the voters’ verdicts are crucial in setting the future direction of their municipalities.

So sit down with the ballot, get informed and make your opinion count.

• Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Sharon J. Prill, Bob Crider, Frank Purdy and Karen Troianello.