2014 WA Primary: Your vote, your voice

by Brian Zylstra

Ten years after Washington voters adopted the Top 2 Primary system by initiative, it’s time for the 2014 edition.

Check your mail over the next few days for your Primary ballot.  Although it’s a mid-term election, there are races and propositions that are significant for your community, and we’re hoping for an excellent turnout, state Elections Director Lori Augino said this week.

The 2014 Primary actually got under way last month when county election officials sent ballots by mail and electronically to about 65,000 military and overseas voters.  Now it’s time for the rest of us.

This year’s Primary, which ends Aug. 5, will be dominated by races in all 10 congressional districts, including the competitive race in Eastern Washington’s open 4th Congressional District to replace retiring U.S. Rep. “Doc” Hastings. The Primary also includes all 98 state House seats and 25 of the 49 state Senate seats. Among the state Senate battles is the crowded race in the 37th Legislative District to replace retiring Sen. Adam Kline.

There are no races for U.S. Senate or statewide offices this year. None of the four state Supreme Court races will be on the Primary ballot.

The top two vote-getters in each partisan race advance to the General Election, regardless of party preference. Go here to view our online Primary Voters’ Guide on the congressional and legislative primary races.

Voters in many counties also will see many local races and ballot measures on their Primary ballot. Among the most publicized in King County is Proposition 1, which would create the Seattle Park District.

Secretary of State Wyman predicts that Primary voter turnout will be about 40 percent, which is in the same range as the 2010 Primary (41 percent) and 2006 Primary (38.8 percent).

Wyman, Washington’s chief elections official, encourages voters to take part in the Primary by filling out and returning their ballot in time for their vote to count.

“Several important local ballot measures will be decided in this Primary, and congressional, legislative and county races will be pared down to two candidates for the General Election, so I encourage voters to study the races and measures and take a few minutes to fill out and return their ballot by Election Day,” Wyman said.

Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 5 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots can also be returned to accessible voting centers during business hours.

If you aren’t registered to vote in Washington, you have until July 28 to do so. You need to visit your county elections office to register in person.

Kilmer announces STEM competition for local high school students

Representative Derek Kilmer today invited high school students from Washington’s 6th Congressional District to participate in the first annual Congressional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academic Competition, “The House STEM App Challenge.” This new nationwide competition is designed to engage students’ creativity and encourage their participation in STEM education fields. Local high school students will compete against other students in the 6th Congressional District by creating and exhibiting a software application or “app” for mobile, table, or computer devices on a platform of their choice.

 

Students can submit their apps for consideration between Saturday, February 1 at 12 p.m. eastern time and Wednesday April 30 at 12 p.m eastern time. For additional details on how to participate, please see below or visit http://kilmer.house.gov/house-app-contest.

 

Throughout the completion period, participating students will be provided opportunities to engage with various STEM educational partners located throughout the community to mentor and assist them with their app development.  Students entering the competition must provide a YouTube video demo explaining their app and what they learned through this competition process.

 

The submitted apps will be judged by an appointed panel of individuals within the academic, software and entrepreneurial fields.  The winning student’s app in each participating congressional district will be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website (www.House.gov), as well as on display in a U.S. Capitol exhibit.

 

Representative Kilmer said, “As a dad of two little girls who will one day be entering a workforce that needs skilled workers, and as a guy with a background in economic development, I know the increasing role technology is playing in the economy. We should always look for more opportunities to engage young people about the value of a STEM education. I’m looking forward to seeing the innovative apps created by students in our region.”

 

Hadi Partovi, Co-founder and CEO of Code.org said, “Increased education in STEM and computer science is essential to the future of our country. Every student, not just the ones who want to pursue a career in technology, will benefit from a broad understanding of the science and especially the computer technology that powers the world around us.”

 

Charles Keating, President of West Sound Technology Association said, “Programming and technology skills are as important as math, reading and writing for brain function lateralization and a 21st century economy. Everything from cake decorating to building houses will increasingly leverage technology, and students will need to be prepared for jobs that are quickly evolving. Code.org’s ‘Hour of Code’ initiative sparked tremendous interest, and events like the app contest will continue to build on momentum while engaging students.”

 

Karen Burns, a Teacher-Librarian at Gig Harbor High School said, “I am a firm believer in students getting the opportunity to use technology to create products. Technology is a wonderful tool for students in many areas of the school curriculum, but it is the higher order thinking skills that students can apply to projects such as this House App Contest that bring learning through technology to fruition.”

 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

 

  • The contest is open to high school students who reside in Washington’s 6th Congressional District.

 

  • Participants may compete individually or in groups of up to 4 students.

 

o   For groups of 2 students at least 1 must reside in the Washington’s 6th Congressional District.

o   For groups of 3-4 students at least 2 must reside in the Washington’s 6th Congressional District.

 

 

  • Students may submit their entries between the dates of February 1, 2014 at 12PM eastern time to April 30, 2014 12PM eastern time.

 

  • To submit an entry:

 

o   After February 1, 2014 create an account on http://challengepost.com/ and register for the House Student App Contest.

o   Create an App Demonstration Video of no more than 2 minutes that demonstrates the scope and quality of the app.

o   Create a Developer Video of no more than 1 minute in which the participant describes how they created the app and what they learned.

o   Upload both videos to YouTube or VIMEO and submit the links through http://challengepost.com/.

o   Submit an entry form through http://challengepost.com/.

 

  • Entries will be judged on:

o   Quality of the idea (including creativity and originality).

o   Implementation of the idea (including user experience and design).

o   Demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.

 

  • The winning app will be featured on the US House of Representatives website www.house.gov and Representative Derek Kilmer’s website http://kilmer.house.gov/ and will also be on display in a US Capitol exhibit.

 

  • For more information please contact Rohan in Representative Kilmer’s office at (360) 373-9725.