Washington State Primary Turnout Approaches 27%
Mia Carlson

Washington State Primary Turnout Approaches 27%

OLYMPIA, WA - The Washington State Secretary of State's Office says voter turnout for the August 1st Primary Election is turning out higher than the numbers set in the previous two odd-year primaries.  Turnout this year has reached 26.79%, compared to 24.37% in 2015 and 25.99% in 2013.

A few thousand ballots have yet to be counted, but state and county election workers are nearing the end of the vote tabulation process.

“Even though this year’s turnout is the highest since 2011 for odd-year primaries, it is by no means encouraging that only just over a quarter of our state’s registered voters chose to make their voices heard,” according to Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Even though it is more convenient for citizens to register and cast their vote than ever before, it really comes down to how interested people are in a particular issue or candidate for them to exercise their civic duty.”

From Secretary of State's Office:
Voter turnout in a presidential election year is typically the highest, while odd-year elections historically trend lower – even though it’s the local measures and offices that will often most directly affect voters’ lives, noted Wyman. 

The Secretary of State’s Office has undertaken numerous measures over the last decade to increase the likelihood that eligible citizens will register and vote, including:
·         Promoting voter registration through the Department of Licensing (motor voter)
·         Offering voter registration at state agencies as part of every sign-up or renewal of benefits
·         Pioneering voter registration by mail, and online
·         Delivering a voter information pamphlet to every household in Washington state that includes information about how to register
·         Providing voter registration information to college students when they register for classes
·         Sending voter registration information to all young people when they turn 18 years of age
·         Annually reaching out to potentially eligible but not yet registered voters with registration information
·         Providing voter pamphlets in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese
·         Providing voter registration information in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Khmer (Cambodian), Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Tagalog and Ukrainian – and in forms accessible to persons with disabilities.

“We continue working to remove barriers to participation in democracy,” Wyman continued. This year, the Secretary of State proposed legislation that would have shortened voter registration deadlines, allowed the pre-registering of 17-year-olds so they automatically become registered voters on their 18th birthday, and automatically registered citizens who have an enhanced driver’s license.

Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, as well as documenting extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington.

Information on Washington elections: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/

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