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┬áif 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.

WASHINGTON STATE PRIMARY – SEPTEMBER 14, 2004
http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/voterguides/2004PrimaryResults/www.eirs-wa.org/results/status0b50.html?estat=p

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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