Ballots in from 53 percent of expected state voters

Ballots in from 53 percent of expected state voters
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - More than half of the state's expected voters already have returned their ballots to elections officials, a day before Election Day.

A county-by-county assessment by The Associated Press found that as of Monday, more than 1.6 million ballots had been returned.

Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts 83 percent turnout statewide - about 3 million people - so about 53 percent of the expected voters have sent back their ballots.

Ballots were sent out Oct. 17, and must be postmarked by Tuesday.

Thirty-seven of the state's 39 counties are voting entirely by mail. King and Pierce Counties still have poll sites, though a majority of voters in those counties already vote by mail.

In the August primary, 95 percent of all votes were submitted by mail.

King County, the state's most populous county, has 1.1 million voters and is predicting an 85 percent turnout. Some counties are predicting a turnout as high as 90 percent.

The average statewide general election turnout since 1936 is 78.85 percent. The record turnout in modern times was 84.5 percent in 1944.

King County elections officials said they plan to be able to count all the expected 286,800 poll votes on Election Day, as well as 100,000 mail ballots. Following that, they expect to count 90,000 to 100,000 mail votes daily.

State Elections Director Nick Handy has cautioned that voters shouldn't expect to know definitive results on Election Night because King County's results will come in slower than the rest of the state.