The best way to engage your civic passions is to get out and vote

Americans should put their newfound engagement with politics and government affairs to use — by voting in upcoming elections.

WITH our democracy and the health of millions at stake, Americans are rightly focused on the bumbling Trump administration and vicious health-care policy emerging from Congress.

The silver lining — or should we say gold plating? — is renewed civic engagement spurred by Trump’s election and the ensuing controversies.

Now is the time to apply that renewed passion and interest in politics and governance.

Not registered to vote?

Go online and register with the Washington Secretary of state office.

Ballots will be mailed in a few weeks for the Aug. 1 primary election. The questions are closer to home this year — city council, school board and port races, among others — but they still have major consequences for the Puget Sound region and the state.

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The best opportunity to influence the direction of your government is to learn about candidates and issues — and vote.

Keep marching and protesting. Let your friends and family know your stance via social media and plaster your car or bike with bumper stickers if you like.

But don’t forget that the surest, and easiest, way to make a difference is to vote. It may not provide the immediate gratification of a good Facebook post but voting has actual and lasting effect.

Voting also gives weight and authority to one’s political commentary. Those who don’t bother voting silence their voice, and their ability to complain in good conscience about the direction their city, county and state are heading.

A handful of legislative races are especially consequential this year. Whether Republicans continue to control the state Senate with a one-vote majority may depend on the outcome of the race to succeed the late state Sen. Andy Hill in the…

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