August 24, 2012 in City

Washington primary turnout far below average

Staff reports

Voters turned out in much lower numbers than expected for Washington’s Aug. 7 primary.

About 1.4 million ballots were tallied, representing 38.5 percent of registered voters. The election was formally certified Friday by Secretary of State Sam Reed. Reed had predicted a 46 percent turnout.

The turnout was the weakest in recent years for a primary during a presidential election year, Brian Zylstra, a spokesman for Reed’s office, said in a statement. The average turnout is about 43 percent.

Possible explanations for the low turnout include the early-August election date and the lack of a printed primary voter’s pamphlet, analysts say.

A printed pamphlet was not sent to voters this year because of state budget cuts, Zylstra said. The state Constitution requires a pamphlet sent before the November general election.

It costs the state more than $1 million to send every voter a pamphlet.

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