Neither the Top Two Primary nor Vote-By Mail Expected to Increase Turnout in Washington State

Though the spin is always the same, neither the Top Two Primary, nor the vastly increased use of Vote-By Mail throughout Washington State is expected to increase turnout.

Secretary of State Sam Reed has predicted a 46 percent turnout, and county officials surveyed by The Associated Press supported that forecast. The state’s 39 counties’ turnout expectations range from a low of 35 percent in Adams County to a high of 62 percent in Jefferson County.

If expectations hold, it would be the highest turnout since 1972, when turnout was more than 49 percent.

So if expectations hold, we are told, this election is going to have “the highest turnout since 1972.” Gosh, if I read the report from the 2004 primary, that looks like about exactly the same turnout as last time it was a Presidential election year.


Ballots Counted* Registered Voters Turnout To Date
1,480,247 3,279,205 45.14%

So maybe if you consider that all but 3 counties throughout the state are now vote-by mail counties, a less than 1% increase doesn’t scream “highest turnout since 1972” as much as it says “Sam Reed is stretching the truth, again.” I suspect that anything over 45.5% will be rounded up in all Press Release reports to support that 46 figure. Or, if it is a few points lower, I expect that the press that regurgitated this crap, is never going to bring up the previous, higher, estimates.


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