OLYMPIA — New numbers from the Washington Secretary of State's office confirm what political experts in Spokane have long believed:
Central Spokane's 3rd Legislative District, along with being among the state's poorest, is among the state's lightest voting.
The state Elections Office released voter turnout for the state's 49 legislative districts this morning, and they show a wide range of ballots cast, voter registration and turnout (ballots cast divided by voters registered) across the state.
Spokane's 3rd District was fourth from the bottom as far as ballots cast and turnout. Final tallies show that 35,835 voters, or 63.3 percent of those registered in the district, cast a ballot.
Other legislative districts that are completely or partly in Spokane County did significantly better:
The 6th District was fourth from the top, with 64,673 ballots, or a 74.5 percent turnout of its 86,796 voters.
The Valley's 4th District was 17th, with 58,461 ballots or a 72.4 percent turnout.
Northeast Washington's 7th District was 24th, with 55,411 ballots and a 74.2 percent turnout.
Southeast Washington's 9th District was 28th, with 51,223 ballots and a 73.1 percent turnout. (The turnout was slightly smaller in the 4th, even though the number of ballots is larger, because the 4th has considerably more registered voters than either of the two rural districts.)
One possible explanation for this could be the alleged enthusiasm gap for Democratic voters, two years after they turned out in large numbers to elect Barack Obama and give Democrats strong majorities in Congress. The numbers bolster that, to a point.
Among the 10 districts with the smallest ballot totals, seven had solidly Democratic delegations and an eighth elected two Democrats and one Republican. Only two of the 10 lowest voting districts had solidly Republican delegations.
Amont the 10 districts with the largest ballot totals, however, things were more split. Five went Republican all the way, three went Democratic all the way, and the other two split their delegations with two Ds and one R.