OK. Time's up. Or at least it's pretty close.
If you're one of those people who still has a ballot on the kitchen table or the dashboard of your car, it's time to send it on its way.
Election Day is Tuesday.
That means ballots must be returned or postmarked by that day or they don't count. And no, the post office doesn't stay open until 11:59 p.m. waiting for you.
For an extra measure of security, you also can hand-deliver your ballot to one of the several official election drop boxes.
Your vote counts in every race, but it might make a big difference in races that are close, like the U.S. Senate race between Patty Murray and Dino Rossi or in races where there is a smaller pool of voters to draw from, like the Franklin County PUD race or the Prop. 1 fire district measure in Prosser.
We often hear it is our civic duty to vote. Our right. Our privilege.
We hear that everyone should participate.
But we would add a word of caution to that advice.
Should people vote just because they turned 18? Should they be marking a ballot for initiatives they really know nothing about and don't understand in the slightest? Should voters make a decision based solely on how many campaign signs they drive by or the attack ads they see on TV?
We wonder about the wisdom in that.
Each election cycle, we interview candidates and make recommendations. We put a lot of hours into this endeavor. It's a long process and a thoughtful one, but it's not foolproof. And even members of our editorial board don't follow the recommendations 100 percent when it comes to marking their private ballots.
Our recommendations, as much as we value them, are just one of several tools for you to use in making your own choices.
Do we still think everyone should vote? Yes! But we emphasize that the obligation is more than just to mark a ballot. The obligation is to prepare yourself to mark a ballot.
Be a voter.
Be an informed voter.
Here are our recommendations for Mid-Columbia voters.
-- U.S. Senate -- Patty Murray
-- 4th Congressional District -- Doc Hastings
-- Initiative 1053: Supermajority for tax increases -- No
-- Initiative 1082: Worker compensation insurance -- No
-- Initiative 1098: State income tax -- No
-- Initiative 1100: Retailers liquor proposal -- No
-- Initiative 1105: Wholesalers liquor proposal -- No
-- Initiative 1107: Repeal candy tax -- Yes
-- Referendum 52: Green energy bonds for schools -- No
-- SJR 8225: Redefine "interest" in state Constitution -- Yes
-- HJR 4220: Denying bail in serious crimes -- Yes
-- Justice, Position 6 -- Charlie Wiggins
-- Senate -- Jerome Delvin
-- House -- Carol Moser
-- House -- Maureen Walsh
-- House -- Joe Schmick
-- House -- Bill Hinkle
-- House, 1 -- Bruce Chandler
-- House, 2 -- David Taylor
-- Move county seat -- Yes
-- Assessor -- Barbara Wagner
-- Auditor -- Brenda Chilton
-- Commissioner -- Shon Small
-- Coroner -- Alberta Redwing
-- District Court, 3 -- Dan Kathren
-- District Court, 4 -- Joe Burrowes
-- Auditor -- Zona Lenhart
-- Commissioner -- Rick Miller
-- Prosecuting Attorney -- Steve Lowe
-- Treasurer -- Tiffany Coffland
-- Franklin PUD -- Roger Wright