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Saturday, January 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Election Day has arrived but most voters have yet to cast ballots

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 6, 2017

An election ballot is placed in ballot box outside of the Spokane Public Library. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
An election ballot is placed in ballot box outside of the Spokane Public Library. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Facing an absolute deadline of 8 p.m., the majority of Washington voters will have to play “beat the clock” if they want to get their general election ballots in.

Reports from the Washington secretary of state and Spokane County Elections Office show the vast majority of ballots remained out as of Monday. Only about 17 percent of ballots across the state, and a slightly better though still dismal 22 percent of ballots in Spokane County, had been turned in.

Many Idaho voters also have local elections on Tuesday, but those who didn’t vote absentee must go to the polls between 8 a.m and 8 p.m. to cast their ballot.

Voters in cities and towns throughout Washington, including Spokane and Spokane Valley, have council and school board races on their ballot. Many other communities also have contests for mayor, fire, water or sewer district boards.

Northeast Washington’s 7th Legislative District has races for both the state Senate and a House seat. They are among a handful of legislative races in this off-year election prompted by resignations and appointments earlier this year. But because Republicans control the Senate with a one-seat majority, and Democrats have a two-seat majority in the House, even these few races could change the makeup of the Legislature.

At the top of all ballots in the state are three advisory votes on tax increases the Legislature approved earlier this year. Voters are asked whether they think those tax changes should be “repealed” or “maintained”, but the Legislature isn’t bound by the results.

Washington counties mailed ballots to every registered voter in mid-October. After marking their choices and signing the outer return envelope, voters have two options:

  • Putting a stamp on the envelope and mailing it in so it is postmarked on Tuesday. To be sure of a timely postmark, voters should consider taking the ballot to the post office rather than putting it in their own mailbox.
  • Depositing it in a drop box before 8 p.m. Ballot envelopes placed in drop boxes don’t require a stamp.

In Idaho, some voters have mayoral, city council or fire commissioner races on their ballots. In Idaho, citizens who aren’t registered to vote, but are at least 18 and have lived at their Idaho residence for at least 30 days, can sign up and cast a ballot at their polling place. They must have a proper photo identification, such as an Idaho driver’s license or school ID card, and a document with their current address that is dated at least 30 days before today.

Idaho voters can check their polling place location on their county elections office web site.

Voters from both states seeking last minute information before casting their ballot can go to the newspaper’s Election Center at for links to the 2017 campaign coverage.

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