by David Ammons | November 4th, 2009
After an “Election Day” that spanned nearly three weeks, the process of tallying the final vote will take still more time. As of this morning, ballots of 28.5 percent of the state’s 3.58 million registered voters have been counted. That’s over a million ballots. Tons more are being processed as we speak, and many more are still “in the mail,” since state law only requires that ballots be postmarked by Nov. 3.
How many people will have voted by the time counties certify their returns in about three weeks? Good question. The old rule of thumb is that you take the election night total and double it. That would make it about a 57 percent turnout — considerably higher than the 51 percent predicted earlier by the Secretary of State. State Elections Director Nick Handy does offer the caveat that the old rule of thumb may need to be revised, because populous King County has switched to vote by mail and has speedy new tabulation equipment. King posted over 254,000 votes last evening — possibly half of the ultimate total – whereas the county typically takes days to catch up with the rest of the state. King, of course, accounts for nearly a third of the state voters. The county plans to update numbers every afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
Other counties’ update schedules are posted on the state elections homepage. A number of races have already been called by the media and the campaigns — King County Executive (Constantine over Hutchison), Tim Eyman’s I-1033 defeated, Republicans gain a state House seat, and so forth. Other contests, including the open race for Seattle Mayor and Referendum 71, the domestic partnership bill, remain tight and most analysts are waiting for more numbers from King and elsewhere before expressing certainty.