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Surge in early voting continues, with over half of all Washington ballots turned in

Ballots continue to flow in across Washington. (King County Elections, Facebook)

The record-setting surge of early voting in Washington has been well-documented since ballots first started arriving in mailboxes. As of Tuesday, that reached new levels, with over half of the state’s ballots now turned in.

King County shatters record for early ballots turned in at drop boxes

Statewide, election offices have received 52.6% of ballots from voters as of Oct. 27, exactly a week before Election Day, totaling over 2.5 million ballots. At that same point in 2016, just 28.5% of ballots had been returned.

Because of the sheer volume of early voters, Washington state can expect faster results as millions of ballots get tallied prior to Election Day.

“We’re going to have some really meaningful results come election night,” King County Elections Director Julie Wise told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “The more that voters return their ballot this week, the more meaningful results we’re going to have on election night, so we really know where those close races stand.”

Wise expects King County to finish counting “the bulk of ballots” by Friday of election week, despite having until Nov. 24 to officially certify the final tally.

Where to find a ballot drop box before Election Day 2020

For anyone who has yet to register to vote, Washington state offers same-day registration, and will have “event center-style locations” to accommodate that. For any last-minute voters, you can go to any of seven King County Elections centers beginning on Saturday, Oct. 31, where you can register, get your ballot, and then cast your vote in one fell swoop.

Even so, Wise also encourages people to get their ballots in as early as possible, with the county anticipating high volumes of voters returning ballots on Election Day.

“Voters can come all the way up to Election Day, but I certainly don’t recommend that,” she said. “We anticipate lines not only at vote centers but at our drop boxes. With nearly half a million voters scheduled to return their ballot on Election Day, don’t let that be you.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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