PUYALLUP, Wash. -- If you didn’t vote in the primaries, you may want to pay attention to one council race in Puyallup that shows that every vote counts.
Incumbent Robin Farris garnered 42% of the votes and she will go on to the November elections to fight to keep her District 1 seat on Puyallup Council.
But the race to clinch a position to run against her has been super close.
On Wednesday, a day after the primaries, Curtis Thiel and Matt Cuyle were neck and neck, separated by one vote. That margin lasted until Thursday afternoon when ballot results were updated.
“I thought it was going to be close but not one vote,” Thiel said.
“I didn’t know it was going to be one vote close. Who knows how it’s going to turn out?” Cuyle said.
Thiel, a Puyallup business owner, and Cuyle, a father of 3 who works for the
Federal Way School District, both say they worked tirelessly just to get people to vote.
“I spent 12 hour days out knocking on doors talking to people,” Thiel said.
“How can we say this is the example we are setting when we have 20% show up?” Cuyle said.
To be exact the voter turnout is little over 23% in Puyallup’s Council District 1.
That means the vast majority of the more than 8,000 registered voters in the district did not return their ballots.
“I think it’s obscene. Why aren’t they voting? They make it so easy,” Patti Wilson said.
Wilson is a longtime Puyallup resident and she says there were two issues that motivated her to vote in the primary on August 6.
“Homelessness and schools,” Wilson said.
Wilson says many people care about those same issues so she doesn’t understand why more people are not voting.
Her district isn’t the only one with a low turnout, it’s widespread.
Take for example the fact that one Orting School District had around a 12% voter turnout and one Tacoma Council race had only about 16%.
“I think more people will vote in November,” Wilson said.
Win or lose both Cuyle and Thiel want that too.
As of Thursday afternoon, the margin grew from 1 vote to 7 votes in favor or Thiel.
Thiel has 575 votes to Cuyle who has 568 votes.
Thiel says there are nearly two dozen ballots in district 1 that cannot be counted for various reasons, like unsigned ballots or signatures that are not matching up. So if you think you're a voter in that situation, the candidates are asking you to fix the problem with Pierce County Elections so your votes can be counted.