EVERETT — One of the last questions of the 2022 midterm election should get a final answer Monday.
Election workers will recount ballots cast in the hard-fought duel between Republican Rep. Greg Gilday and Democrat Clyde Shavers for the 10th Legislative District seat serving Island County and portions of north Snohomish and south Skagit counties.
Shavers defeated Gilday by 211 votes in results certified by county auditors last month and the Secretary of State last week. It’s so close state law requires the recount, which is expected to provide final confirmation of the outcome.
It is one of three required recounts in the state this election cycle.
Island County must conduct a retally by hand of votes cast in the county assessor’s race, where Kelly Todd Mauck beat Theodore James Kubisiak by just 11 votes. And in Skamania County, a machine recount was triggered in the contest for sheriff where Summer Scheyer finished 25 votes in front of David Waymer.
Once these are completed, the November election will be considered officially done.
This midterm — which featured contests for federal, state and local offices — saw a slightly smaller turnout than the 2018 midterm.
There were 3,067,686 votes counted compared to 3,133,462 in the election four years ago, according to data compiled by the Secretary of State’s office.
Turnout, meanwhile, was 63.8% statewide a month ago versus 71.8% in 2018. The reason for the dip is one of math. Washington has nearly 500,000 more registered voters now than in 2018.
A similar picture emerged in Snohomish County where the voter roll grew by roughly 60,000 since 2018 but the number who cast ballots declined.
In this election, 322,139 votes were tallied and turnout was 63.2%, per county elections data. Four years ago there were 325,689 ballots counted resulting in a 70.6% turnout.
In the meantime, more ballots got rejected this year than in 2018 primarily because of an issue with the signature, a missing signature or it arrived too late to be counted.
Across the state, 37,755 ballots did not get tallied, the vast majority due to a problem with the signature that did not get fixed by the person who turned in the ballot, through a process known as curing.
Snohomish County accounted for 4,104 of those uncounted votes, according to state figures. That included 3,016 with a signature problem that county election workers attempted to cure by contacting those voters. It could have been a higher number, but hundreds of other voters did remedy the problem after getting contacted by election workers.
Rejected ballots can potentially affect outcomes in close races.
In the contest between Shavers and Gilday, for example, there were 185 ballots not counted in Island County because they weren’t signed or the signature didn’t match the one on file for the voter. Another 72 got tossed because they arrived with a late postmark.
In the portion of the district in Snohomish County, 211 ballots had signature issues and 44 arrived late.
Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said he’s looking into sending texts to voters to reduce the number of rejected ballots.
Voters whose ballots are challenged because of a signature issue — he said one of his sons was such a voter — get a notice in the mail from an elections office with instructions on how to remedy the situation. Hobbs said if voters can be contacted right away by text, it might increase the likelihood of them responding.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; email@example.com; Twitter: @dospueblos.
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