Auditor: Voter turnout could be historic in Snohomish County

After Saturday’s tally, the Everett schools bond was still a longshot and Lakewood’s tech levy was passing.

EVERETT — With Saturday’s ballot count, an Everett schools bond inched closer to passing but still faced an uphill battle, while a Lakewood school technology levy gained further voter approval.

Although the election on Tuesday did not include many close races for elected offices at the federal, state and local levels, it likely will prove noteworthy by at least one measure: turnout.

Not since 1964 has a primary election in Snohomish County broken the 50% mark of voters casting ballots.

Fifty-six years later, that’s likely to change, said Garth Fell, the county auditor.

The county came close in 1980 with a 49% turnout in that primary.

Four years ago, just 34% of voters cast ballots in the primary.

Fell thinks the higher-than-expected turnout for this year’s primary could be an indicator of what’s to come in November.

“It points to me that the general election could be historic, as well,” he said.

With 487,759 registered voters for the primary, it is also possible the county could have more than a half million voters by the Nov. 3 general election, Fell said.

Everett bond

A $317.4 million bond measure stood at 58.62% after Saturday’s count. Bond measures provide school districts with money for construction projects and require 60% approval from voters.

Proposition 1 had support of 58.1% on Election Night and dipped after counts on Wednesday and Thursday. There were still about 21,500 ballots left going into Monday’s vote count.

Money from the bond, if it passes, would go toward tearing down and replacing three aging elementary schools and constructing 36 new elementary classrooms. There are also dollars penciled in for renovations at each of the district’s three high schools, new playground equipment at eight elementaries and replacement of the synthetic turf and track at Memorial Stadium.

“We’re encouraged we saw a little bit of an increase,” said district spokesperson Kathy Reeves. “We’re still holding out hope we can hit the 60% that we need. We’re waiting again until the next round of results.”

Lakewood levies

In the Lakewood School District, prospects for passage of a two-year technology levy continued to improve Saturday.

The measure had an approval rate of 50.82%, up from 48.8% on election night. Unlike bonds, levies only require a simple majority for passage. The technology levy passed the 50% barrier on Friday, at 50.09%.

If the levy passes, it would offer some consolation to a district where a four-year enrichment levy was soundly defeated. The larger measure was intended as a renewal of an existing four-year levy that expires at the end of the year. As proposed, it would have brought in roughly $6.3 million next year and close to $27 million over four years.

Lakewood joins Darrington as districts facing difficult decisions ahead after having levies fail twice in one year. State law allows school districts to try twice in one year to pass enrichment levies. This marks the first time in 27 years that a school district in Snohomish County suffered a double levy failure.

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