Judging by the number of ballots returned so far and an expected voter turnout for today’s General Election of 75 percent or better, our annual election day reminder to vote won’t be necessary for most.
As of 10 a.m. Monday, the Washington Secretary of State’s office reported more than 40 percent of the state’s 4.3 million voters — 1.74 million — had returned ballots. For Snohomish County, where 457,695 received ballots, nearly 150,000 had been submitted, nearly 33 percent.
If voter turnout reaches 75 percent or more, those numbers would top results for the 2014 midterm where 54 percent voted statewide and 2010 when 71 percent voted and would near turnout in presidential election years, such as 2016’s nearly 79 percent.
There is plenty of credit to go around for generating interest and participation in this year’s election, including what even President Trump has described as a referendum on his first two years in office. But along with legislative races and higher profile races for the U.S. House and Senate, Washington state voters also are determining the fate of several initiatives, two of which have generated record or near-record levels of fundraising that has made those issues nearly inescapable.
Nor has it hurt that ballots this year don’t need a postage stamp to be dropped in the mail. If it’s shown more voters submitted their ballots by mail in this election, rather than ballot drop box, the Legislature will need to consider changes that would make the postage-free ballots permanent and ease the mandate on counties to provide and maintain the drop boxes.
And in the background, the efforts of the lawmakers and the Secretary of State’s office in recent years to encourage and make voter registration easier have helped increase the state’s voter rolls by more than 315,000.
The number of Washington registered voters reached 4 million in 2016 and 4,315,594 for today’s election.
For those whose ballots are marked, sealed and in the mail or drop-box, wear your “I voted” sticker with pride or go ahead and brag on Facebook. You’ve earned it.
For those who haven’t, you have until 8 tonight to vote and return your ballot.
And those who still are weighing candidates and ballot measures, below are some resources to help inform your decisions:
The Washington Secretary of State’s office offers a service to registered voters to check their voter registration details, recent elections they’ve participated in, who their elected officials are, a sample ballot, a link to the state voters’ guide, drop box and voting center locations and a way to check to see if your ballot as been accepted by the county auditor’s office. Go to tinyurl.com/MyVoteWA.
Snohomish County voters can consult the Snohomish County Elections office for instructions on voting, links to the voters’ guide, a list of ballot box locations and more information at tinyurl.com/SnoCoElex2018. For a direct link to a list of ballot boxes, go to tinyurl.com/SnoCoBallotBoxList.
BallotPedia, an online compendium of election and political information, supported by the nonpartisan and nonprofit Lucy Burns Institute, offers links to candidate and ballot measure information at tinyurl.com/BallotPedia2018.
And to review The Herald Editorial Board’s recommendations for the election go to tinyurl.com/HeraldEndorses2018.
And, once you’ve voted, check back at www.HeraldNet.com tonight for the latest election returns and election news for local, state and federal races.