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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Mailbox continues to trump ballot box…

In what even the state's top election official called a "stunning" statistic, 93 percent of Washingtonians who cast a ballot in last month's primary election voted by mail.

"Even in the counties maintaining polling locations, 82.8 percent of voters who participated in the primary cast their ballots by mail," said Secretary of State Sam Reed.

At this point, 34 of Washington's 39 counties conduct elections almost entirely by mail. (Why the "almost"? Because every county, under federal election law, must open at least one in-person polling site to accomodate disabled voters.)

The state's two largest counties -- King and Pierce -- have about 41 percent of the state's registered voters, according to Reed's office. Both open poll sites. Yet even there, more than 80 percent of voters dropped off their ballots in mailboxes, rather than going to those poll sites.

"People like voting by mail," said Reed. "Most importantly, they spread their ballots out across the kitchen table and really study the issues and candidates."

Turnout, by the way, averaged 41 percent.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.