by David Ammons | July 12th, 2012
Reed forecasts a 46 percent turnout – better than the 43 percent average for comparable presidential/gubernatorial years in recent decades. It would be the best voter participation for a primary since 1980, when it was 48 percent.
“The people of Washington are pretty revved up by the campaigns and issues this year and that should result in a darned good turnout, starting with our Primary Election,” Reed said. “We have an extremely competitive presidential race nationally and the media, campaigns, parties and special interest groups have been flooding us with campaign coverage and voter information.
“Likewise, in this state, we have one of the nation’s hottest races for governor and we have an unusually high number of open statewide elective offices, including governor, secretary of state, attorney general and auditor. Washington voters also will be electing three brand new members of Congress, following our redistricting and retirements of incumbents. A U.S. Senate seat is on the ballot and people are already buzzing about our ballot measures that are on tap for November. Our Legislature, the courts and other important state and local offices also offer lots of excitement. Some judges, including the Supreme Court, essentially can be elected in the primary by taking more than 50 percent of the vote.
“As always, I hold out hope that turnout will be even better than I am predicting. After watching democracy on the march around the world, and people’s enthusiasm for casting their ballots, I am struck more than ever with just how significant a privilege it is to vote. This is the first presidential election year where all counties have moved to vote-by-mail and we offer assistance to voters with handicaps, and we’re doing significant voter outreach.”
Military and overseas ballots already have gone out and other voters will begin getting their ballots late next week. Ballots must be postmarked by Primary Day, Aug. 7, or placed in a dropbox by then.
Since 1988, turnout for state primaries averages 43 percent. You’ll see that 1992 was another high turnout year, at 45.8 percent. 1992 was also a politically revved up year that included a new congressional district; we gained the 9th Congressional District following the 1990 Census.
State Primaries in Presidential Election Years
Election Year Turnout