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A Washington Newcomer Learns The Particulars Of Voting In His New Home

Parker Miles Blohm/KNKX
Steve Holdsworth is a new Washington state resident. He and his family live on Bainbridge Island.

This story is part of KNKX's series "Five Voters, Fresh Perspectives."We're looking at the 2018 election through the eyes of five people who are at a turning point in their lives.

Steve Holdsworth began working as a Lead Advisor with Brighton Jones in downtown Seattle last spring. His family joined him here in September. They live on Bainbridge Island, and they moved from Memphis, Tennessee.

Steve says there are a lot of differences between his old home state and his new one. For starters, his commute used to take about 10 minutes. Now it's about 90 minutes. He catches a bus on the island, takes a ferry to downtown Seattle and then rides a bike along the waterfront.

More importantly, he says his new home state works hard to educate voters about issues and candidates.

Steve has lived in a lot of places around the country. His father was a civil engineer in the Air Force, and his family moved frequently when he was growing up. He says Washington is the first place that's allowed him to register to vote at the same time he got his driver's license and the first place that's mailed him a voter pamphlet.

"To know that for everyone, that information being available, is huge," he said.

He's also looking forward to filling out his ballot in the comfort of his own home. The last time he voted, he had to wait three hours at the polling place. While he was in line, he had to listen to partisans advocating for their candidates.

"You're still getting the, 'Vote for me, vote for me, vote for me,'" he said.

It's good that so much information is available, because Steve feels like he has a lot to learn about the statewide ballot initiatives. He knows they're complex, and he's heard a lot of opinions from co-workers and neighbors.

Many people will be upset, no matter the outcome, the day after election day. But, Steve said, "It's tough for me to feel like you can be upset about anything if you didn't vote. So by've been heard."

And he hopes electoral outcomes won't damage relationships.

"My neighbor and I may be polar opposites on whether there should be a levy to increase the width of [state route] 305...but you're still my neighbor...and if you need something from me, I'm still going to want to help you out, and I feel that you would feel the same way," he said.