November 21, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Voter Turnout Approaches 80 Percent in Washington State
Some Washingtonians miss the satisfaction of visiting polling stations on election day. Some Washingtonians prefer the ease of voting from home on their own schedule. But no matter where your opinion falls on mail-in ballots, the correlation between them and increased voting rates is striking.
SEATTLE — Mail-in balloting has caused an increase of voter turnout as the Washington Secretary of State announced a 78.8% voter turnout to date. With one week to go until the office certifies the election results, it is thought that final turnout should land between 80 and 81%—in line with expectations.
San Juan County leads the way thus far with a turnout of 88.53%, while Thurston County (72.31%) is in last place with approximately 11,000 ballots yet to be counted. King County’s turnout is 79.34% but will likely crawl above 80% after the remaining ballots are counted.
Voter turnout has been buoyed by mail-in balloting in recent years. However, this year’s numbers falls short of the turnout in the past two presidential elections. Both 2004 (82.2%) and 2008 (84.6%) saw a greater percentage of voters turn out.
With the state rumored to be progressing toward an e-mail ballot solution similar to what is currently available for members of the military, voter turnout may continue to increase over the coming years.