It’s nearly time to vote again.
General election ballots will be mailed to Yakima County voters Oct. 18, giving voters just under three weeks to return their vote.
A primary election in August narrowed the candidates vying for positions throughout the Valley. The top two vote-getters for each position advanced to this final round.
There are still plenty of candidates to get familiar with, so we’re kicking off coverage today to help voters prepare. Here’s a breakdown of what we plan to cover and when — with the understanding that some things may be moved around as daily news demands.
Coverage of local City Council and mayoral races will begin with Sunnyside’s candidates and will continue throughout the county every day through Oct. 21. We’ll provide some background on each candidate and the position up for election. Then we’ll get candidates’ take on some of the most pressing issues specific to their race — such as what can be done to reduce crime and gang activity in Yakima, or whether Union Gap candidates will be voting in favor of a library district levy.
City council races are happening in Sunnyside, Tieton, Toppenish, Union Gap, Moxee, Selah, Granger, Grandview, Wapato and Yakima.
In Wapato, coverage of the mayor and five City Council races will be spread across four days beginning Wednesday. There, a six-candidate mayoral race has been narrowed to two, while 19 candidates for City Council have been boiled down to 10. It’s a keenly watched election, as the city recovers from corruption allegations and scandal.
City council coverage is expected to wrap up on Oct. 20 and 21 with Yakima, where eight candidates are vying for four positions: Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7. One candidate was eliminated from each race during the primary vote. Holly Cousens of Position 7 is the only incumbent candidate in a Yakima race.
On Oct. 22 and 23, we’ll dig into some of the local ballot initiatives, as Union Gap aims to fund a new library and Toppenish School District seeks support for a $9 million capital improvement for a high school gym.
The Yakima school board races will be featured on Oct. 24. Positions 1, 4 and 5 are on the ballot this year. Former East Valley school board member Norm Walker — who resigned when he moved outside the district in 2017 — is running unopposed, as is current board president Raymond Navarro. Incumbent board member Martha Rice is challenged for the Position 5 race by Earl Lee, a former teacher in the district.
We’ll then turn to the 13th District Washington House election Oct. 25, in which Republican appointee Alex Ybarra is challenged by Democrat Steve Verhey of Ellensburg.
We’ll also take a look at state ballot initiatives and campaign financing before ballots are returned Nov. 5. Check the Yakima Herald-Republic every day during election season for updates.
All of our coverage can be found in one place: www.yakimaherald.com/news/elections/.