Voter turnout lags 2018 levels so far
Voter turnout statewide and in King County isn't on track to smash 2018's midterm records, despite strong early turnout numbers nationwide.
Driving the news: King County Elections said, as of Thursday, about 26% of its registered voters had returned their ballots for the Nov. 8 election.
- That's quite a bit lower than 2018, when about 35% of county voters had already submitted ballots by the same point in the election cycle, spokesperson Halei Watkins wrote in an email.
By the numbers: In 2018, King County voter turnout hit 76%, a record for a midterm election year.
- This year, county officials have been projecting a more modest November turnout of 72% — but now it's uncertain whether the county will reach that.
- Statewide, turnout is also trailing 2018 levels slightly, according to the Washington secretary of state's office.
Between the lines: The reason for the dip is unclear, election officials say. Voter participation is often driven by what's on the ballot; this year, there aren't big statewide ballot initiatives like in 2018, but there are other high-profile races.
- Voter participation this year is still expected to exceed other midterm cycles, such as 2014, when turnout was about 54% statewide and 55% in King County.
Be smart: Ballots can be placed in drop boxes until 8pm on Nov. 8, or must be postmarked by that day to be counted.
Of note: It's not uncommon for half or more of ballots to come back in the last two days of the election cycle, Watkins said.
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