Spin Control

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 3, 2010, 2:36 P.M.

Mid-term turnout highest in Spokane County since 1970

Election officials say a big surge of votes in the final day likely will push voter turnout over 70 percent in Spokane County.

Election drop boxes in a few cases filled up, and election workers had to make extra trips to collect them, said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton. About 30,000 ballots were collected from the drop boxes on Tuesday. The drop boxes, which hold about 1,600 ballots, are located at all libraries, the elections office and at the downtown Spokane Transit Authority Plaza.

Turout in the 2006 mid-term was 67 percent. It was only 59 percent in 2002 and 1998. In the last large GOP wave, in 1994, turnout was 68 percent. The last time mid-term turnout topped 70 percent was in 1970 when 72 percent cast ballots.

More voters in this election opted to use ballot boxes than usual. Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said he expects that once all the ballots have been received that about 40 percent of them will have been dropped off in the boxes.

The drop boxes offer voters the opportunity to cast ballots without buying stamps.


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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.