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About a third of Spokane County voters waited until the last minute to vote

Rebecca White/SPR

Voter turnout in Spokane County will likely be slightly above average for an off-year election. The county auditor says it still to early too know for sure due to the unusually high number of voters who waited until the last minute to turn in their ballots.

Preliminary election results show Spokane County’s ballot return rate is nearly 37%. That’s lower than the 2019 rate, when the Spokane mayor’s race was on the ballot, but above the 2017 rate, which was also an off year directly following a presidential election.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton says she anticipates this year’s return rate could reach 40%, but says its too early to know due to about a third of voters waiting until the last 24 hours to return their ballot.

“On election night we were only in that 28, 29% range for ballots returned, so it was not looking good to break even in the middle 30s (percent). A lot of people waited until the last minute to either use our drop boxes, or put their ballot in the mail.”

As of Wednesday night, the auditor’s office had about 29,000 ballots left to process. Dalton says that number could go up as more ballots arrive in the mail over the next few days.

This story has been updated from its original version to include updated ballot totals.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.
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