On a Thursday evening, in the dimly lit backroom of the Octapas in downtown Olympia, a small group of politically canny people gathered to do something most impactful: fill out their ballots!
On July 26, roughly two weeks before Washington’s primary election, members from Olympia Indivisible hosted a ballot party to share information about the candidates on their ballots. I was one of those members, and having only been a local for about two years now, I was eager to get a bit of background on some of the local candidates who were harder to research through my usual methods (a scientific process of going through the first page of results from a Google search).
Going into the event, I guess I must’ve been expecting something more like a “ballot forum,” with a clear divide between people with questions and people with answers, and a clear agenda of questions being asked and then answered. As it turns out, there’s a reason it’s called a ballot party: the discussion was not nearly that rigid and structured, and in between my questions about Allen Acosta’s background, about whether any of the 30ish Senate campaigns represented a compelling challenge to Maria Cantwell’s incumbency, or about which authorities are delegated to the county level of governance, I found myself wrapped up in plenty of conversation about topics that weren’t on my ballot that night, such as the ballot initiatives endorsed by OI, how to get money out of politics, and the food, which was exceptional!
All told, I’m glad I took part in the event. As a newer member of OI, it gave me an opportunity to build connections with some of the more established veterans. It was also a great setting for open discussion and sharing ideas. Crucially, at the end of the event, my wife and I walked a couple blocks down to Olympia City Hall with Lisa and Carolyn to drop off our completed ballots. If you feel like you need a little more information before filling out your ballot for the upcoming general election, I would absolutely recommend attending a ballot party in your area--or, if you happen to know some people who are exceptionally politically engaged, host your own ballot party and invite them over.
For more information about how to throw a ballot party, go to this link: https://www.olympiaindivisible.com/home/host-or-attend-a-ballot-party. The sparknotes: it’s not that hard!
Whatever you do, though, be sure to turn in your ballot on November 6th, whether it’s complete or not!
NOTE: Check this out! Public Ballot Party with The Olympia Standard
THU OCT 25 6:00-8:00 PM Hosted by The Olympia Standard At The Magnet, 600 Franklin St SE Suite 105b, Olympia RSVP: FB https://www.facebook.com/events/336307803825353/