Early return of ballots in Snohomish County smashes record

More than 78,000, or 15.3%, have already been sent in, easily beating a previous high set in 2008.

Election vote icon for general use.

EVERETT — Snohomish County is seeing ballots returned at a record rate, a sign of the intense interest in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Ballots were mailed to roughly 510,000 registered voters on Oct. 15, and by Tuesday evening 78,092, or 15.3%, had been returned, with the vast majority placed in drop boxes.

The amount smashes the previous high of 7,515 for a similar time frame. That occurred for the 2008 vote in which Barack Obama was elected president.

“This is impressive. It’s encouraging to see voters taking early action to vote and return their ballot,” Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell said in a statement. “With interest high and the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading in our community, we need voters to act today to ensure everyone’s voice is heard while keeping each other safe and healthy.”

Across the state, by midday Tuesday, 848,365 ballots, or 17.6% of more than 4.8 million that were mailed, were in, according to the Office of the Secretary of State. In 2016, just 6.2% of ballots had been returned in the same period.

Election officials across the state, including Fell, are urging voters to not wait until Election Day to turn in their ballot.

Acting early, they say, ensures voters have time to resolve any issues that might arise and their choices will be part of the vote counts posted Election Night.

Ballots can be placed in any of the county’s 30 designated drop boxes. Or they can be mailed without a stamp. Ballot-return envelopes need to be postmarked no later than Nov. 3. Every election, ballots are not counted because they arrive too late. The U.S. Postal Service recommends mailing them at least a week before Election Day.

Given the national conversation surrounding voter intimidation and suppression, Fell said security around ballot drop boxes has been increased to help ensure voters can access them without incident.

A private firm, Kaeka Group Inc., has been hired to perform security. Fell did not disclose how they will carry out their work, which will earn the firm an estimated $23,500.

In addition, some drop boxes are in locations at which there are video surveillance cameras.

Fell urged residents to call 911 if they see anyone actively interfering with a voter attempting to return their ballot to a drop box.

And if one sees signs of vandalism of a drop box, he asked that they email photos and the location to elections@snoco.org, and law enforcement will be alerted.

There is still time to register or to update your registration. You can do it online at www.vote.wa.gov until Oct. 26.

After that date, a person can go to the county auditor’s office until 8 p.m. on Election Day to register and vote. Same-day registration is the result of a law enacted in 2018.

Meanwhile, if you are registered and did not receive a ballot by Wednesday, contact the Snohomish County elections office at 425-388-3444.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Amethyst Skeels and Alexander Walsh pick out cannabis products at Kushman's Everett Cannabis Dispensary on Evergreen Way on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Cannabis sales surge, proving pot is pandemic-proof

There are more customers, and some regulars are stocking up — just in case there’s a shortage.

Leslie Bringedahl grabs a bag containing books she and her husband Mark ordered after Circulation Manager Carol  puts them down on a wall during curbside pickup at the Everett Public Library on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Everett, Wa.(Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Everett council looks to fund fireworks, Jetty Island ferry

The Carl Gipson Senior Center and boosting library funding are also “quality of life” priorities.

Controlled explosion rattles Cathcart and much of the county

Deputies were investigating a 19-year-old who had an “enormous amount of fireworks” near Silver Lake.

Police: Suspect in fatal hit-and-run may have used marijuana

The Lynnwood man allegedly didn’t stop to check on a pedestrian whom he hit with a pickup truck.

Santa Claus is coming to town, despite the coronavirus

He’ll follow social distancing. In one setting, children are invited to “call out” their wishes.

Lynnwood man in custody after pedestrian is killed in crash

The sheriff’s office said detectives are investigating the suspect for DUI, hit and run, and vehicular homicide.

This series of screenshots taken from an iPhone with COVID-19 exposure notifications turned on for Washington state shows some of the information presented to iPhone users who are considering opting in to a new statewide coronavirus exposure notification program that was launched Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Washington state that uses smartphone technology in the ongoing effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People with Apple iPhones can now enable the 'exposure notifications' feature that is already in their phone's settings, and Android devices can download the app, called Washington Exposure Notifications. Use of the service is voluntary and users can opt out at any time. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington launches statewide COVID-19 notification app

Modeling predicted significant decreases in infections and deaths if at least 15% of people use the app.

Driver arrested after allegedly hitting woman in crosswalk

The suspect was driving an SUV on Highway 99 in Lynnwood and is under investigation for DUI.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Jail employee charged in drug smuggling

Alexis Wafstet was charged with drug possession. Several inmates were allegedly in on the plot.

Most Read