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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

September 25, 2014 at 7:02 AM

Secretary of State predicts 62 percent voter turnout

Washington’s Secretary of State Kim Wyman has given her crystal-ball number for this year’s general election turnout: 62 percent.

It’s a lower figure than the actual turnout for the last two mid-terms — 2010 had 71 percent and 2006 had 65 percent, according to a Secretary of State blog on Wyman’s prediction. But both of those years had U.S. Senate races, something we don’t have on the ballot this year.

Regardless, Wyman says she believes the three statewide initiatives are driving interest for both Democrats and Republicans.

“I think between the class-size initiative and the two competing gun initiatives, it really does energize both ends of the spectrum,” Wyman said.

“Turnout is really driven by a hot race or position, or some measure that has an emotional hook,” she added. Statewide voting by mail and the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings in the 4th District, along with some local races, could also push turnout, according to the Secretary of State’s turnout blog.

The last mid-term election that didn’t have a Senate race on the ballot took place in 2002, before we had statewide voting by mail. Turnout that year was 56.4 percent. So in that sense, this election might establish a new baseline for turnout in the midterm-with-no-major-state-races-category.

The Secretary of State’s office aimed a little high on its prediction this summer for primary-election turnout. Washington, did, however, have one of the nation’s highest primary-turnout rates this year.

For those of you who aren’t registered to vote but actually read political blogs (probably a niche category, but no matter), you can register online or by mail up until Oct. 6. If you’re a procrastinator or are just dying for an excuse to pop into your local county elections office, you can register in person there up until Oct. 27, according to Wyman.

The voting period itself runs from mid-October to Nov. 4.

Comments | More in 2014 elections, Gun initiative, Secretary of State, State legislative races | Topics: 2014 elections, Kim Wyman

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