Voter turnout is forecast at 81 percent, less than 2008 record

October 18, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 3 p.m. Oct. 18, 2012

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed on Thursday predicted 81 percent voter turnout, a robust response to the races for president and governor, but less than the record set in 2008.

Washington is home to 3,880,859 registered voters. State elections officials said 149,202 people registered or reactivated a registration since the August primary.

The historic average turnout in a presidential and gubernatorial year since 1952 is 79.2 percent. Reed does not expect the turnout — or ballot return, in the case of all-mail voting — to match or exceed the record level 84.6 percent in 2008.

In King County, officials started mailing 1.16 million ballots to voters Wednesday. The deadline to postmark or return ballots is Nov. 6.

In addition to the races for president and governor, Washington voters must also decide federal, statewide, legislative and local contests, plus a series of ballot measures.

“It is true that there have been an avalanche of TV and radio commercials for months, blanket news coverage for the past year, and heavy spending by the campaigns,” Reed said in a statement. “But the thing that generates turnout is whether you have compelling races and ballot measures that people care about. We have that this year, big time.”

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