EDITORIAL | As ballots arrive, pay close attention to all races

It really is no surprise that seemingly every political headline as of late is somehow related to the much-maligned presidential race.

But let’s be honest: A vast majority of voters, especially in this state, have pretty adamantly decided one way or another who their pick is, whether it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. That’s just the nature of a polarizing contest between two candidates with record-high unfavorable ratings.

What has gotten less attention is, well, every single other race, whether it be statewide, countywide, or especially at the legislative district level.

That last one isn’t a factor if you live in Queen Anne or Magnolia, where neither of the 36th District Reps. (Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame) or Sen. Reuven Carlyle drew a challenger for November.

Of course, that’s disappointing. It’s not that any of the trio has done anything to warrant being replaced, but that the robust dialogue that comes with a contested election is welcome.

But in some ways, there’s an opportunity for voters in this district. Without those races on the ballot, there’s a chance to give a little more attention to those other measures on your ballot.

Seattle will vote in August on the housing levy, and King County will decide on Sound Transit 3 come November.

The entire state will weigh in on a senate race, as incumbent Patty Murray seeks another term, while Jay Inslee also tries to lock up another four years in the governor’s mansion.

The governor is one of just nine statewide offices up for grabs, though. You’ll hear plenty about Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant, but what about the race for State Auditor? How about State Treasurer? Commissioner of Public Lands? Superintendent of Public Instruction?

These are the state offices that are tasked with things like overseeing K-12 public education, managing the cash flow of all major state accounts, and controlling almost 6 million acres of state-owned land.

They’re not the glamorous positions, but they’re important ones.

And it’s up to you, as a registered voter — and if you’re not a registered voter it’s up to you to become one — to take these races seriously.

They’re not going to get the same media coverage as the larger races, with local newsrooms stretched ever thinner. That means the power is in your hands.

With a primary ballot arriving at your door in the days to come, now is the time to set aside an hour, click through some campaign sites, and familiarize yourself with the candidates and positions.

Representative democracy only works when voters are actually informed enough to weigh in on each race, instead of blindly filling in a bubble next to the name they’ve seen a few more ads for over the course of the campaign.

So, the message is simple, and it’s one you may remember from the days when you couldn’t cast a ballot: Do your homework.