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WA Election 2014 under way; 62% turnout forecast ?>

WA Election 2014 under way; 62% turnout forecast

GeneralElectionMap2014

Washington’s General Election is under way.  About 65,000 military and overseas ballots were going out by Saturday, Sept. 20, many of them sent electronically, and those voters are able to begin voting as soon as they receive their ballots.

The other 3.8 million registered voters will be getting ballots and Voters’ Pamphlets by this time next month. The 18-day voting period kicks off Oct. 17.

Ballots can be voted any time after they are received. They may be returned by mail, in person, or by using a county-supplied dropbox.  Postmark deadline is Election Day, Nov. 4; dropboxes may be used until 8 p.m. Election Day.  Results will be available online and via smart-phone apps after 8 p.m. Election Night.

Deadline for online and mail-in voter registration is Oct. 6.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman is forecasting a 62 percent voter participation for the mid-term election, or roughly double the turnout in this year’s primary.  The 62 percent figure is lower than the turnout for the two previous midterm elections (71 percent in 2010 and 65 percent in 2006), primarily because this year we have no U.S. Senate

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Secretary Reed’s `robust’ turnout prediction? 81 percent ?>

Secretary Reed’s `robust’ turnout prediction? 81 percent

Secretary of State Sam Reed, Washington’s chief elections official, is predicting a robust voter turnout of 81 percent in the General Election that is currently underway.

Reed figures that Washington voters will be attracted by highly competitive races for president and governor, hot races for Legislature and Congress, and some of the most compelling ballot measures in the country.

Washington has nearly 3.9 million registered voters – an all-time high – and more are expected to be added, since new registrations are still being accepted in-person at county elections offices. About 150,000 new or reactivated registrations have been added since the August primary.

Washington’s historic average for presidential/gubernatorial year turnout since 1952 is 79.2 percent.

Reed, making his final turnout prediction before leaving office in January, said he expects a somewhat better-than-average participation due to the quality of the races and the ballot measures. Also, this is the first presidential/gubernatorial election conducted entirely by mail.

“It is true that there have been an avalanche of TV and radio commercials for months, blanket news coverage for the past year, and heavy spending by the campaigns. But the thing that drives turnout is whether you have compelling races and ballot measures that people care about.  We have that this year, big time.

“The presidential race has been front and center, and our open governor’s race has been highly competitive from the very opening bell.  Unusually, we have four wide-open statewide offices (governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and (more…)

Reed forecasts better-than-usual Primary turnout ?>

Reed forecasts better-than-usual Primary turnout

Washington’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Sam Reed, is predicting a better-than-usual turnout for the Top 2 Primary that gets underway next week.

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.

Reed’s reasoning:

“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.

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Gregoire, Reed certify 2011 election returns ?>

Gregoire, Reed certify 2011 election returns

Gov.  Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed have officially certified the 2011 General Election returns, including statewide ballot propositions, including an initiative that ends state government’s retail liquor monopoly.

Meeting in the governor’s office, they signed documents certifying the vote tallies.

The state enjoyed a better-than-expected “turnout” of 52.95 percent, nearly 1.94 million ballots.  The turnout was 6 percentage points higher than forecast for the off-year election with no statewide contests such as governor, U.S. senator or president on the ballot.

Reed noted that this was the first statewide November election conducted completely by mail, and said there was a flurry of interest in our statewide ballot measures, including Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, dealing with tolls and light rail, and the Costco-sponsored liquor privatization proposal.  There was record spending on the liquor measure, raising the visibility of the issue and driving more turnout, Reed said.

Eyman’s I-1125 was defeated 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent, with a margin of defeat of about 120,000, primarily in King County.  The liquor measure, I-1183, passed handily, 58.7 percent to 41.3 percent, carrying most counties.  A third initiative, I-1163, sponsored by Service Employees International Union, to require training of homecare workers, was even more popular, passing 65-35 and carrying all 39 counties.

San Juan County had the highest turnout, almost 70 percent (69.55 percent). Other counties also broke 60 percent, including Columbia, Garfield, Island, Jefferson, Lincoln, Pacific, and Pend Oreille. Others were close.  King had 52.11 percent, Spokane 56.5 and Snohomish 52.1.

WA 2011 election turnout: almost 53 percent ?>

WA 2011 election turnout: almost 53 percent

Counties have certified election returns for the 2011 General Election, with results from 1.94 million ballots. Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov. Chris Gregoire will certify the election next Monday.

The state enjoyed a better-than-expected “turnout” of 52.95 percent, or 6 percentage points higher than forecast for the off-year election with no statewide contests such as governor, U.S. senator or president on the ballot.  Secretary Reed said Wednesday he was pleased with the turnout:

 

“This was our first statewide election conducted completely by mail, and there was a flurry of interest in our statewide ballot measures, including Tim Eyman’s initiative dealing with tolls and light rail and the Costco-sponsored liquor privatization proposal.  There was record spending on the liquor measure, including saturation advertising, and lots of people were talking about it.”

Eyman’s I-1125 was defeated 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent, with a margin of defeat of about 120,000, primarily in King County.  The liquor measure, I-1183, passed handily, 58.7 percent to 41.3 percent, carrying most counties.  A third initiative, I-1163, sponsored by Service Employees International Union, to require training of homecare workers, was even more popular, passing 65-35 and carrying all 39 counties.

San Juan County had the highest turnout, almost 70 percent (69.55 percent). Other counties also broke 60 percent, including Columbia, Garfield, Island, Jefferson, Lincoln, Pacific, and Pend Oreille. Others were close.  King had 52.11 percent, Spokane 56.5 and Snohomish 52.1.

Washington’s 2011 election deadline fast approaching ?>

Washington’s 2011 election deadline fast approaching

Washington’s 2011 ballot-return deadline is fast approaching.

Tuesday is the deadline to have a ballot postmarked or returned to an official ballot drop-off site.  The state Elections Division is recommending return of completed ballots by Saturday if possible. If you think you’re registered to vote, but haven’t received a ballot, contact your county elections office. Voters can also double-check online by visiting www.myvote.wa.gov.

Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts a 47 percent ballot return, with roughly half of those to be processed and reported by the counties on election night.  Other ballots will be in the courthouse, but not yet processed, and others will still be in the mail – including those from military and overseas voters.  In order to be counted, the signature on each ballot envelope must match the one on file for the voter.  This is a labor-intensive process, but very important in combating voter fraud.

Returns will be available starting after 8 p.m. Tuesday, and will be updated instantly as counties report in their results. Most counties, including King, will report only once on election night. Site (more…)

WA 2011 primary election is underway! ?>

WA 2011 primary election is underway!

Washington’s 2011 primary is underway, with county election officials mailing ballots to more than three-fourths of the state’s registered voters.

It’s the first election since lawmakers officially switched the state to full use of vote-by-mail.  Pierce County, the last holdout for poll-site voting for a dwindling number of their residents, had made the switch to mail balloting.

Not every registered voter should expect to receive a ballot. Two counties have no primary at all this year — Franklin and Wahkiakum — and portions of many counties also have no races that are contested in the primary.

There are no statewide primaries this year. The primaries for statewide office, including open races for governor, attorney general and secretary of state, will be next year, and that’s when the U.S. Senate, 10 U.S. House races, and many legislative, judicial and other contests will be on the ballot.

Two special legislative races to fill unexpired terms in Spokane and Clark counties, will be on the November ballot this year.

All told, the state Elections Division calculates that about 78 percent of the state’s registered voters, or about 2.86 million, will get primary ballots.  Postmark deadline is Aug. 16, and turn-in deadline for drop boxes or voting centers, is at 8 p.m., Aug. 16.

Registered? The last possible date for an in-person registration for a new voter who wants to vote in the Aug. 16 primary is Aug. 8.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, the state’s chief elections official, said odd-year elections in Washington are largely devoted to local elections, mostly nonpartisan, and various ballot propositions.  Turnout is typically not as strong as in even-numbered years, when many hotly contested races generate heavy voter and media attention and ad blitzes.

But Reed asked voters to “dig deep” and do their civic duty, and privilege, this year.

“As a former local elected official for many years, I can tell you that the local elections are often pivotal to the life of a community.  Local government truly is the government closest to the people and those whom we elect will be making exceptionally important decisions in the days to come.

“We ask that every eligible citizen, particularly our young people 18 and older, get registered, get involved, get informed, and vote this year.  Your vote truly is your voice, and you deserve to be heard.”

Election certified, now for some recounts ?>

Election certified, now for some recounts

After three weeks of people checking our Elections webpage and wondering when the General Election will FINALLY be completed, we can now say that this election has been put to bed, with the exception of a handful of legislative and local races that need recounts.

All of the counties have certified their election results, and Secretary Reed and Governor Gregoire will certify the state results on December 2 at the Capitol.

The voter turnout in this election was 71.24 percent, the second highest midterm turnout in Washington history, falling short of only the 71.85 percent state record set in 1970. We knew earlier this week that this year’s turnout eclipsed the 71.15 mark set in 1958 and all previous midterm elections dating back to 1938, but we weren’t sure if it surpassed turnout prior to ’38. Well, it did. We checked all the way back to 1890 and determined that turnout during that period was nowhere as high as it nowadays. In fact, turnout for elections prior to the 1920s was incredibly low. It was conducted by city governments via paper ballots and little was done to announce the time and place for elections except for what was posted on the courthouse or city halls. A far cry from all of today’s many ways of getting the word out.

Here is the final county-by-county breakdown of the voter turnout results.

Recounts will occur in three legislative contests . There will be a hand recount of the 25th Legislative District House race between Democratic incumbent Dawn Morrell and Republican challenger Hans Zeiger, who leads by 47 votes. A machine recount will take place for the 42nd District House race between D incumbent Kelli Linville and R challenger Vincent Buys, who leads by 154 votes. And the 41st District Senate race between Democratic incumbent Randy Gordon and Republican challenger Steve Litzow will see a machine recount. Litzow leads by 194 votes.

There also will be recounts occurring in a Grays Harbor County Council Commission race, a San Juan County Council contest and a Benton County District Court battle.

Voter turnout topping 70% and still rising ?>

Voter turnout topping 70% and still rising

Prior to this November’s General Election, Secretary Reed predicted that Washington’s voter turnout would be 66 percent of the state’s 3.6 million registered voters.  Days after the election, we updated that forecast by saying that the statewide turnout could reach 70 percent.

The revised prediction came true late Tuesday, as turnout reached 70.04 percent. As of late Wednesday afternoon, the voter turnout stands at 70.36 percent, with over 2.5 million ballots counted. Go here to see county-by-county voter turnout figures.

We’re still a little short of the 71.15 percent mark established in 1958 and the 71.85 percent plateau reached in 1970.

Counties have to certify their General Election results by November 23.

Sizzling turnout for WA primary ?>

Sizzling turnout for WA primary

Washington primary voters may have set a new modern record for participation.  As of this morning, over 950,000 ballots have been counted — or nearly 27 percent of the state’s 3.6 million registered voters.  The rule of thumb is that between 50 and 60 percent of the expected votes are tallied on election night, with the rest arriving in the mail today and in the coming days.

Elections Director Nick Handy says the eventual turnout could be in the mid-to-high 40s or even more. Based on historic turnout for a mid-term, non-presidential year primary, the Elections Division had forecast a 38 percent turnout, which would tie the recent record set in 2006. The average over the last few decades for mid-term primaries is 34 percent.

Said Handy:

“Voters clearly are very energized and want to take part in this year’s elections. People are really engaged.  It’s also clear that voters like the Top 2 system that allows everyone to participate and choose their favorite for each office.  And many people in this hectic world really appreciate the great convenience of voting by mail.”

You can track the progress of the turnout percentage as additional returns are added each day. Go to www.vote.wa.gov and click on the turnout tab.