by David Ammons | November 9th, 2009
Based on preliminary numbers from Washington’s 39 county elections offices, it looks like about 99 percent of us voted by mail in the November election. That’s about as close as you can get to all vote-by-mail as long as Pierce County continues to allow poll-site voting.
Under Washington law, the shift from poll-site voting has been swift. First, voters were allowed to sign up for no-excuse “permanent absentee” status, meaning they were automatically sent ballots every election. Tons of people picked this option. Then the Legislature made it possible for each county to switch entirely to vote-by-mail — and the rush was soon on. County Auditors said it was a little cheaper – and a lot more popular with their voters, boosting participation.
All but Pierce – where the tradition of poll-site voting lives on, at least for now, for a small number of voters.
Dave Motz, statistics expert for the state Elections Division, released numbers today that showed the transition to mail-voting is nearly complete, de facto. Pierce County’s unofficial tally of poll-site voters is 17,304 as of Monday afternoon. Total voting statewide is north of 1.8 million, including those left to count.
Thus most Pierce voters also have switched to mail-it-in and the current calculation is 99 percent of us statewide voting by mail or drop-off box. Only Oregon tops that — 100 percent!