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Robust early voting points to record year

Spokane County already at 60 percent; Kootenai absentees set mark

Before the polls open this morning, a majority of Spokane County voters already will have cast their ballots and a record number of Kootenai County residents will have voted absentee.

But for the rest, today is the last chance to mark a ballot for president and a wide array of other candidates and issues.

By now, any voter not living in a cave has been bombarded with campaign commercials, inundated with political junk mail and harassed by “robocalls.” They’ve seen network talking heads explain the polls and manipulate color-coded Electoral College maps.

There’s nothing left but the voting.

Spokane County is on track to set a turnout record. More than 60 percent of voters had sent in their ballots as of Monday morning, Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin reported. Turnout varies across the county, election data show: Some of the heaviest voting so far is in some traditional Republican strongholds of south Spokane and the southwest part of Spokane Valley. Turnout is lighter in northeast and east-central Spokane, which often trend Democratic, and in Airway Heights and Cheney.

Kootenai County has already set a record for absentee turnout. The previous record was 15,000, and as of late Monday, the office had nearly 22,000 absentee ballots, Elections Manager Deedie Beard said.

“We have lines out both doors,” Beard said. And the substations at city halls in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Athol and Rathdrum “are doing a heck of a business, also.”

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