NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Washington’s general election voter turnout is low so far, but not as bad as 2015 or 2017

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:

CountyVotersReturnedPercentage
State4,501,807872,89519.4%
Adams7,0171,39119.8%
Asotin15,1174,29028.4%
Benton114,75820,06117.5%
Chelan46,03211,45124.9%
Clallam53,87113,21024.5%
Clark293,34251,95817.7%
Columbia2,68896535.9%
Cowlitz66,40311,10316.7%
Douglas22,7035,50524.2%
Ferry4,8381,54031.8%
Franklin37,0835,48314.8%
Garfield1,68843225.6%
Grant42,3429,56322.6%
Grays Harbor44,95811,04024.6%
Island58,57214,19324.2%
Jefferson25,8517,36328.5%
King1,329,331251,04318.9%
Kitsap174,73934,34419.7%
Kittitas26,6865,86922.0%
Klickitat14,5883,06121.0%
Lewis49,52411,19122.6%
Lincoln7,4352,34531.5%
Mason40,52810,70026.4%
Okanogan23,8335,18021.7%
Pacific15,5073,66223.6%
Pend Oreille9,3422,76929.6%
Pierce519,23284,22016.2%
San Juan13,7113,70127.0%
Skagit78,21414,34618.3%
Skamania8,0871,30316.1%
Snohomish475,75075,82315.9%
Spokane330,41182,36224.9%
Stevens31,9467,91424.8%
Thurston186,40935,76319.2%
Wahkiakum3,22865920.4%
Walla Walla35,3036,15917.4%
Whatcom146,59435,80824.4%
Whitman24,9894,35117.4%
Yakima119,15720,77417.4%
State4,501,807872,89519.4%

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.

Adjacent posts

  • Donate now to support The Cascadia Advocate


    Thank you for reading The Cascadia Advocate, the Northwest Progressive Institute’s journal of world, national, and local politics.

    Founded in March of 2004, The Cascadia Advocate has been helping people throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond make sense of current events with rigorous analysis and thought-provoking commentary for more than fifteen years. The Cascadia Advocate is funded by readers like you: we have never accepted advertising or placements of paid content.

    And we’d like it to stay that way.

    Help us keep The Cascadia Advocate editorially independent and freely available by becoming a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute today. Or make a donation to sustain our essential research and advocacy journalism.

    Your contribution will allow us to continue bringing you features like Last Week In Congress, live coverage of events like Netroots Nation or the Democratic National Convention, and reviews of books and documentary films.

    Become an NPI member Make a one-time donation

Post a Comment

By submitting a comment using the form below, you acknowledge that you understand and accept the terms of the Northwest Progressive Institute's User Agreement, and you agree to abide by our Commenting Guidelines. We will not publish or share your email address. See our Privacy Promise for more information. Your comment must be submitted with a name and email address as noted below. *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>