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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

County on track for 35-40 percent turnout in primary election

Slightly more than 30,000 ballots for the Aug. 5 primary had been returned to the Spokane County elections office by Thursday, pushing turnout to about 10.5 percent countywide.

Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said the county is on track for a predicted turnout of between 35 percent and 40 percent of its more than 285,000 registered voters.

A four-way primary in the 5th Congressional District and a three-way primary for a 4th Legislative District House seat are drawing interest, McLaughlin said. The 6th Legislative District Senate race is also getting attention, even though its two candidates both will advance to the general.

Mailbags were heavy Monday after the first weekend ballots mailed out last week had been in homes. That’s often the busiest day for ballot returns until the Monday before the election.  People who know whom they plan to vote for (or against) tend to mark their ballots and drop them in the mail quickly, as do folks who plan to be gone at some point between now and the election and don’t want to forget. 

All voters in the state should be mailed a ballot this year because of primaries for federal and state elections. Registered voters who haven’t received one by today should call the county elections office to request a replacement and check the address on file.

Eligible residents who haven’t registered and want to vote in the primary can do so until Monday afternoon, but must sign up in person at the county elections office. In Spokane, that’s at 1033 W. Gardner Ave.

Most races are partisan. Under the state’s primary system, however, the candidates with the most and second-most votes advance to the general election, regardless of party. 

Primary turnout in even-year elections typically is near or above 40 percent, McLaughlin said. One exception was 2002, which like this year had no primaries for statewide offices or a U.S. Senate seat and had a turnout of 36 percent.

Ballots must be marked, placed in the provided envelopes (which must be appropriately signed), and deposited at a drop box by 8 p.m. Aug. 5 or mailed with proper postage so they are postmarked by that date. 

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