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Tue., Nov. 1, 2016, 11:31 a.m.

Washington ballots top 1 million

Campaign buttons and paraphernalia, some dating back more than 70 years, from a display on the wall in The Spokesman-Review's Olympia office. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)
Campaign buttons and paraphernalia, some dating back more than 70 years, from a display on the wall in The Spokesman-Review's Olympia office. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)

State elections officials said Tuesday morning the total number of ballots reported from all the counties topped 1 million on Monday, or about 24 percent of all the ballots sent out. The secretary of state's office is expecting more than 80 percent of them to come in by the time all ballots are counted. 

In Spokane County, the number as of Monday was 71,153, or 23.4 percent, so slightly off the statewide pace but in the ballpark.

A week before election day is a good time to do comparisons, and when compared with the last two presidential elections, 2016 is slightly below the 2012 presidential election, and significantly below the 2008 contest.

On the comparable Monday in 2012 (Oct. 29), Spokane County had received 24.1 percent of the ballots mailed out, and eventually got back ballots from 80.47 percent of the registered voters.

On that Monday in 2008, (Oct. 27), Spokane County had received 29.7 percent of the ballots mailed out, and eventually had 85.7 percent of the registered voters casting a ballot.

2008 was a high-water mark for the county, and the state, where it hit 84.6 percent. In both cases, that was the highest number of registered voters casting ballots since at least 1952, which is as far back as good records go.

Traditionally, ballot turn-ins increase every day for the next week, with election day and the day usually at the top. But without a big jump in the rate of ballots being dropped in the mail or deposited in drop boxes, it seems unlikely that either the state or the county will hit 2008 levels.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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