Secretary of State Sam Reed is predicting an 81 percent turnout for the general election, with voters motivated by competitive races for president, governor and hot-button ballot measures.
Reed said in a statement that Washington’s ballot measures “seem custom-made for driving up turnout this year,” with issues that include same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana and allowing charter schools.
The race for governor is also a big draw. Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna are locked in a tight race, with the most recent poll putting the race within the margin of error.
While 81 percent turnout is high for a presidential and gubernatorial year — 79.2 percent is the historic average — it still isn’t quite as high as four years ago. In 2008, a record 84.6 percent of Washingtonians turned out to vote. Reed said the spike was because people were “revved up” by the Obama-McCain election.
Ballots started going out earlier this week to the state’s 3.88 million registered voters. Since the primary election in August, about 149,000 additional people have signed up to vote. People still have 12 more days to register to vote in person.
Voters can mail back their ballot anytime, but it must be postmarked by Nov. 6. Ballot dropboxes are open until 8 p.m. on election day.