Seattle voter guide: Your primer on the 2023 election
Your ballot for the Nov. 7 election is on its way, if it hasn't already arrived in your mailbox.
Why it matters: This year's election will decide seven of nine seats on the Seattle City Council, along with dozens of other local government positions across the county and state.
- Four Seattle City Council incumbents aren't running for re-election, leaving their seats up for grabs.
Plus: Seattle voters are being asked to approve a $970 million property tax levy for affordable housing.
Here's how to participate and what to know about the major races on the ballot.
Registering to vote
You can register to vote or update your voter registration information at VoteWa.gov through Oct. 30.
- After that, you can still register to vote through 8pm on Election Day. But you'll have to do it in person at a county election office or vote center.
Pro tip: Even if you haven't changed your name or address recently, you can update your registration to include your cellphone number and opt in to receive text alerts about the status of your ballot.
Returning your ballot
Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day or placed in an official drop box by 8pm that day to be counted.
- Election officials recommend that if you are returning a ballot by mail, you put it in a mailbox by Nov. 3 to ensure it gets an on-time postmark. No stamp is required.
- If you need a replacement ballot in King County, call 206-296-VOTE (8683) or email [email protected].
- You can also use King County's online ballot marking tool to fill out and print a new ballot that you can return by mail or to a ballot drop box.
Here’s a rundown of the major races.
Seattle City Council District 1
In District 1, two former tech company employees have very different visions.
- Rob Saka, a former lawyer at Facebook and Microsoft, is competing against Maren Costa, a user experience designer who publicly urged her former employer, Amazon, to do more to combat climate change and improve conditions for warehouse workers.
- The two candidates are at odds over the city's new drug policy, taxes and more.
Seattle City Council District 2
Chinatown-International District advocate Tanya Woo, who fought against expanding a homeless shelter in the area last year, is trying to unseat sitting Councilmember Tammy Morales, one of the council's most progressive members.
- They're far apart on police funding, among other things.
Seattle City Council District 3
Joy Hollingsworth, a cannabis entrepreneur and food bank worker, is competing against Alex Hudson, the former executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, for the council seat being vacated by socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
- The candidates are aligned in some ways, but have different views about the city's new law that allows the city attorney to prosecute low-level drug offenses.
- Watch the candidates debate here.
Seattle City Council District 4
Ron Davis, a tech entrepreneur who now advises other startups, is up against Maritza Rivera, the former deputy director of the city's Department of Arts and Culture.
- They disagree on who should be prosecuted for drug offenses; whether new taxes are needed to pay for social services; and how to approach removing encampments of people experiencing homelessness.
Seattle City Council District 5
ChrisTiana ObeySumner, a social equity consultant and former social service worker, faces Cathy Moore, a former judge and public defender, in this North Seattle district.
- They're vying for the open seat being vacated by Council President Debora Juarez, and disagree about criminalizing drug use and removing encampments, among other issues.
Seattle City Council District 6
First-term incumbent Dan Strauss is being challenged by Pete Hanning, executive director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.
- Hanning told Crosscut the current council has become too "divisive and combative" and has criticized Strauss' earlier support for an activist-driven plan to reduce the police budget in 2020.
- Read more about the race here and or watch them debate here.
Seattle City Council District 7
Of the three City Council incumbents on the ballot this fall, first-term Councilmember Andrew Lewis got the smallest share of the vote in the August primary.
- He's being challenged by Bob Kettle, a former naval officer who thinks the City Council needs to have a "reset" and repair its relationship with the local police guild.
Seattle housing levy — Proposition 1
Seattle voters are being asked to pass a new property tax levy that would raise about $970 million for affordable housing, rent assistance and more over the next seven years.
- If approved, the levy's tax rate will be higher than under the previous levy that is being replaced.
More Seattle stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Seattle.