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Voter Turnout Low in Washington – Could Drop below 40%

WA voters not flocking to return ballots
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As often seen in what are called mid-term elections, voter turnout might not reach 40%.

According to officials with the Washington state Secretary of State’s office (who oversee and monitor elections)  if we get above 40%  it will be an improvement.   That margin is projected, based upon the mid-terms in 2010 and 2006.

Considerably higher turnouts are usually seen in Presidential election years such as 2008 and 2012.  As many as 60% of voters return or cast ballots at that time.

There aren’t any statewide initiatives on this year’s ballot, although in the Columbia Basin there’s the proposed Public Safety sales tax that would be used to create more positions for police officers and expand criminal justice programs to battle gangs in our area.

The most widely watched race is to see who’s going to be on the November ballot to replace Doc Hastings.    Despite a lack of official polling data done by such groups as Gallup, Rasmussen and others,   GOP contenders Clint Didier and Dan Newhouse are considered to be the front-runners on the Republican side.   Yakima native Estakio Beltran is considered the leading Democratic candidate, having received the official party endorsements for Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties.

Because the 4th. Congressional District (Doc Hastings old seat) is heavily conservative,  state election officials said we could see two candidates from the same party square off on the November ballot.  That’s because in 2008,  Washington adopted the “top two” system in it’s August primaries.

That means the top two candidates advance to the November ballot - regardless of party affiliation.  If that happens, it would be the first time in state history, in any state election.

Again, as Newstalk 870 has reported earlier, a lack of definite polling data shows this race to be wide open.    A straw poll held by the Benton County Republican Party June 18th showed strong support for Kennewick attorney George Cicotte, ahead of Didier and Newhouse.  But that’s just for Benton County, and doesn’t include the rest of the district.   Cicotte has garnered strong Tri-City area support.  The poll was done by those who attended an 8-way candidate forum held locally by the party.

The closest to an “official” poll of any kind conducted by a polling data service was done by the Didier campaign between May 26-28 of this year.  Team Telecom sampled some 400 district voters,  with Didier receiving over 17% support, Newhouse, 9.6%, State Senator Jenae Holmquist-Newbry 7%,  Democrat Tony Sandoval 2.3%, and Cicotte and Beltran 1.3% each.   But the margin of error on that poll was projected to be rather wide due to the small number of samples.

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