Fewer than one in five Washingtonians have cast a ballot so far in this year’s November general election, but voter turnout is at least on track to surpass the low marks set during the last two local election cycles, when Washington repeatedly set new records for the worst general election voter turnout in state history.
At around this juncture two years ago, statewide turnout was just 16.8%. And on the day before Election Day four years ago, turnout was 17.4%.
This year, it’s 19.4%, with about a day and a half left to vote.
Small counties are once again the turnout leaders. Tiny Columbia County leads with 35.9% turnout, followed by Ferry, Lincoln, and Pend Oreille Counties. West of the Cascades, Jefferson is the turnout leader, with 28.5% of ballots returned.
Of the larger counties, Spokane and Whatcom are both closing in on 25%, while Pierce and Snohomish are lagging behind. Snohomish has the second worst turnout in the state (at 15.9%) and Pierce has the fourth worst turnout (16.2%).
King County is doing modestly better, with 18.9% of ballots returned.
Here are the numbers for every single county:
Last year, Washingtonians turned out in force in the 2018 midterms, arresting and reversing a nearly decade old decline in voter turnout in every type of election.
But this year, we’re back to struggling to surpass fifty percent turnout.
What can we do? Everyone reading this post has an obligation to do our part to boost voter turnout. That means going above and beyond voting ourselves. It means checking up on friends and family and asking them to do their civic duty.
There are no “off” years… every election year is an “on” year… so banish that term from your vocabulary and make sure people you know have voted.
We are blessed to live in a democratic republic where we get to choose our leaders as opposed to an authoritarian regime where we have no voice and no vote in our governance. Voting is an important obligation of citizenship.
There are no acceptable excuses for not voting, especially not when three weeks are provided to fill out and return ballots, which is the case here in Washington.
So please: Talk to your colleagues, family, and friends about tomorrow’s election. Ask them if they’ve voted. If they have, thank them.
And if they haven’t, offer to help them make a plan for voting. Research shows that people are more likely to vote when they make a plan to vote.