Washington voter turnout tops 3 million mark - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington voter turnout tops 3 million mark

SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington's voter turnout has just topped the 3 million mark for the first time in state history. As of this morning, 3,001,551 ballots have been counted by the 39 County Auditors across the state. That amounts to 82.69 percent of the state's 3,629,898 record number of registered voters. The previous record for ballots cast, set in 2004, was 2,884,783. The percentage turnout that year was 82.23.

The counties say they have over 55,000 ballots on hand that still remain to be processed, and an undetermined number of provisional ballots that are being handled, most notably in King and Pierce counties. The final turnout is the best in modern times and should break the 84 percent mark, but it's still unclear whether we will break the all-time record since the state Elections Division began recording statewide turnout back in 1936. The current record is 84.5 percent, set in 1944.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, who predicted a strong 83 percent turnout,  said he's delighted that over 3 million voters cast ballots this year and the surge in voter interest. The turnout can be attributed to the extremely strong appeal of the presidential and governor's races, dozens of highly competitive down-ballot races and initiatives, get-out-the-vote efforts, and heavy use of mail-in ballots. This year, 37 of the 39 counties voted exclusively by mail, with King and Pierce still allowing poll-site voting as well.

Many of the counties are already reporting turnout numbers above the statewide average. Two counties, Jefferson and San Juan, already have topped the 90 percent mark and Garfield and Island aren't far behind.

Counties will certify their final returns next Tuesday, November 25, and Secretary Reed will certify the following week, on December 4.

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