State primary election turnout a 'dismal' 23 percent

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington secretary of state's office says the turnout in Tuesday's primary election was "dismal," but in line with similar off-year elections.

The ballots counted as of Thursday represent 23 percent of registered voters, according to figures on the secretary of state's website. That number could edge up toward the 30 percent expected figure by the time counties certify results 20 days after the election.

Spokesman David Ammons says the size of the vote is affected by the candidates and issues on the ballot and how much campaigning and interest they generate.

The highest turnout, in percentage terms, was in Adams County, where 44.7 percent of registered voters returned ballots. The lowest turnout was in Chelan County, with 15.5 percent.

The turnout was 23.5 percent in King County, 19.6 percent in Pierce County, 18.5 percent in Snohomish County, 35.8 percent in Skagit County and 27.3 percent in Kitsap County.

The statewide turnout was nearly 39 percent in the primary last August and 81 percent for the general election with the president on the ballot.

Three counties didn't have primaries this year so only 3.1 million ballots were mailed. Washington has 4 million registered voters.