Voter turnout expected to be low in important Wash. election
Nov 7, 2023, 7:33 AM | Updated: Nov 8, 2023, 8:41 am
(Photo: James Lynch/KIRO Newsradio)
Despite ballots packed with important races and initiatives, the Secretary of State’s office told KIRO Newsradio only 40% of registered voters are expected to cast ballots.
That number is expected to be lower in the three-county region of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.
The Northwest Progressive Institute said that with 24 hours left before ballot boxes close, voter turnout is abysmal across Washington state. Of the 3,850,467 voters in Washington, only 541,577 have been returned ballots, a rate of just 14.1%.
It’s known as an off-year election or odd-year election.
With no national candidates on the ballot, a lot of voters are choosing to stay home without filling out a ballot. Or, they complain about not having time to vote.
Related news: Future of Seattle politics at stake in Tuesday election
Still, at one busy Seattle drop in West Seattle, there is a steady stream of cars and walk-up traffic with voters eager to drop their ballot.
“We need to get a lot more people out to vote because we have a lot of important issues,” voter Matt Carson said. “We got taxes. We got school boards, city council, so if you’re a Seattlite, it’s an important election.”
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“I think we need to make Seattle safer and to do that I think we need to have the right people on the City Council,” voter Ann Marrs said.
In Seattle, as many as 8 of 9 city council seats could change. In Snohomish County, an executive is up for grabs and the mayor of Edmonds will be decided. In Pierce County, several small-town mayors will be voted on.
Elections officials told KIRO Newsradio we are fortunate that voting is made easy in Washington.
Ballots are mailed out, they can be mailed in, and there are drop boxes everywhere. Still, some voters see a trend that is alienating voters.
“The reality is like when you have a system that doesn’t really encourage people to vote, you’re gonna get lower numbers like that,” voter Cole Kordoos said.
Contributing: Bill Kaczaraba/MyNorthwest