Primary elections set Tuesday in Benton, Franklin counties

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldAugust 4, 2013 

Several school board and city council races will be narrowed and the fate of a long-discussed regional aquatic facility and water park will be decided in this week's primary election.

More than 100,000 ballots have been issued to voters in Benton and Franklin counties.

Election Day is Tuesday.

"Your vote is your voice. If you want to be heard, return your ballot," said Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton, adding that the election features issues worth weighing in on, and "I hope people participate."

In Franklin County, about 27,000 ballots were issued, and about 24 percent had been returned as of Friday. Beaton is projecting the turnout will reach 35 percent to 40 percent total.

Benton County officials are projecting similar turnout; about 87,000 ballots were sent out, with about 20 percent returned as of Friday.

City council races in Richland, Prosser and Kahlotus will be narrowed in the primary, along with the West Richland mayor contest, school board races in Pasco, Richland and Kiona-Benton City, the 8th Legislative District senate contest and two Port of Kennewick commissioner races.

Benton Fire District 2 also has a levy up for a vote. And voters in Richland, Pasco and Kennewick will decide on a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase to pay for a regional aquatics facilities and water park. Planned features include competition, training and leisure pools, a surf machine, river channels and slides. If the measure gains approval, the regional aquatics attraction will be built on 13 acres off Sandifur Parkway in west Pasco.

Stuart Holmes, Benton County's elections administrator, warned that if voters choose to mail their primary ballots Tuesday, they first should double-check the collection time in case it's changed.

Ballots must be post-marked no later than Tuesday to be counted. Both counties also have several secure drop boxes that will be open until 8 p.m on Election Day.

In Benton County, drop boxes are at the Prosser courthouse, 620 Market St.; the auditor's annexes at 5600 W. Canal Drive in Kennewick and 101 Wellsian Way, Suite E, in Richland; the Benton City, Kennewick and West Richland city halls; and Jefferson Park in Richland.

In Franklin County: Franklin Fire District 3, 2108 Road 84, Pasco; the election center at 116 N. Third Ave., Pasco; TRAC, 6600 Burden Blvd., Pasco; and the county courthouse at 1016 N. Fourth Ave., Pasco.

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