Primary ballot deadline Tuesday, so don't forget

Ballots for the primary election are due Tuesday, so for those who have not yet voted, it's time to get cracking.

Because of budget cuts, there is no printed statewide voter pamphlet available for this election.

However, voters can get information online through the Tri-City Herald's website and the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.wa.gov/elections.

Take a look at those sites and get some information before randomly checking off candidates or ignoring races because you didn't want to take the time to do some research.

The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board doesn't usually make recommendations in the primary, but we occasionally make an exception if an outcome could be decided. Under state law, if a judicial candidate gets more than half the votes in the primary election, then that candidate is elected. In light of this situation, we have recommendations for State Supreme Court Justice Positions 2 and 8.

Position 8 presents a choice between a highly qualified and respected incumbent, and a candidate who hasn't made much of an effort to let people know who he is.

Steven Gonzalez is the clear choice. He was appointed to fill a vacancy late last year, and by all accounts has done a tremendous job. He has experience as a Superior Court judge and is endorsed by many community leaders and elected officials around the state.

Meanwhile, Bruce O. Danielson didn't return calls for an interview with us. Trying to find information about him has been difficult, as he has declined to participate in a wide variety of election events. His website isn't much help, either. It seems he hasn't taken his campaign seriously, so it is hard to believe he would work any harder as a judge. To us, it's a no-brainer. Vote for Gonzalez.

As for Position 2, we believe the incumbent has the edge. Susan Owens is seeking her third term on the bench and has done a fine job for 12 years. Her opponents are Douglas W. McQuaid and Scott Stafine.

McQuaid spent 40 years in the courts and is a Vietnam veteran. He believes Owens' time is up and doesn't seem to value the experience of an incumbent. We disagree. We think experience counts for a lot and Owens has been an effective member of the Supreme Court. Change only for the sake of change isn't necessary.

As for Stafine, he has said he is focusing on bringing attention to what he perceives is a flawed legal system. He may have valid concerns, and using a judicial campaign to voice them certainly helps him get his message across. But that doesn't mean he is qualified to unseat Owens.

In this race, Owens is the best choice and should be re-elected.

And one piece of advice for recent high school graduates heading off to college soon -- If you are 18 and haven't registered to vote yet, do it now before leaving home. The deadline is Oct. 8 if you want to vote in the general election in November, and while it may seem like there is a lot of time between now and then, there really isn't.