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November 8, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Predictions: low turnout, first results at around 8:15 p.m.

Pierce County distributed "I Voted" stickers in its voter pamphlet.

In an election without a hot-button ballot initiative or a statewide race, Secretary of State Sam Reed is predicting reasonably tepid turnout of 47 percent — 1.72 million — of the state’s 3.66 million registered voters.

And the likely result won’t be much election-night drama: This is the first general election run entirely by mail, so many counties — including King County, with a third of the state’s voters — will be releasing a single ballot dump, sometime between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m.

The 47 percent prediction is down from the last off-year election in 2009, when both the Seattle mayor and King County Council were up.  “There’s scattered interesting races, but not enough to drag people to the polls,” said David Ammons with the Secretary of State’s office. Then he corrected himself, noting there are no longer “polls.” “I’ve got to change my language.”

King County predicts higher turnout: 52 percent, or 564,000 votes. Tonight, elections officials expect to tally about 270,000 ballots already on-hand and verified, those received in the mail by last Friday, or possibly Monday, said King County Elections spokeswoman Kim Van Ekstrom.

Snohomish County is expecting a total turnout of just over 50 percent, or 205,000 ballots. Elections officials there expect to count about half of those tonight: about 105,000.

Pierce County, the last in the state to switch to all-mail voting, also projects a 50 percent turnout.

The biggest news of the day — a snafu by the Department of Licensing that shorted 21,000 ballots — turned out to be slightly overblown on review. While some voters likely got missed, the real number was probably lower because several counties, including King County, did their own voter address updating or mail-forwarding.

“The primary solution is that any voter who believes that he or she should have received a ballot but did not should go to their county elections office by 8:00 p.m. tonight to obtain a ballot,” according to a joint statement by DOL and the Secretary of State.

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Election 2011

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