More than 4 million people voted in the Nov. 3 general election in Washington — an all-time high and an increase of about 700,000 from four years ago.
But by a standard measure, turnout may still fall shy of a record set in 2008.
That year, 84.6% of registered voters cast ballots, compared with 83.4% this year, according to Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office.
“We’re probably going to come up just a tad short,” Wyman said.
Citing a boom of early voting, Wyman and other elections officials had predicted turnout would surpass the 2008 mark, perhaps even reaching 90%. “This is why I hate doing predictions,” she said.
Turnout in Washington was driven by the race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic president-elect Joe Biden, who easily carried the state with 58% of the vote.
Mark Neary, the assistant secretary of state, said Washington may have narrowly missed setting a turnout record in part because so many additional people have registered to vote.
“We’ve done a ton here to make it super easy for people to register,” Neary said, citing changes such as same-day registration and reminders for people to register any time they interact with major state agencies, such as the Department of Licensing.
Elections officials focused on the raw number of voters who took part in this year’s election.
“In terms of numbers of people participating we blew it out of the water,” Neary said. “We’d love to see these levels in every single election that we run.”
While the vast bulk of votes has been counted, some could still be added to the total in coming weeks.
Voters whose ballots had signatures challenged have until Nov. 23 to fix that issue. Anyone whose ballots had such problems should have received a letter or phone call from their county election office.
In King County, turnout surpassed 85%, beating out the county’s 2008 mark. In all, more than 1.2 million King County voters cast ballots, accounting for about 30% of the votes statewide, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
In Snohomish County, turnout reached 84.7%; in Pierce County it was 82%. San Juan County recorded the highest at 89.4%, while Adams County had the lowest at 66.5% as of Friday.
That analysis found 74% of Washington’s voting-eligible population participated, beating the previous modern-day mark set in 2004.
Academics use the voting-eligible population standard — as opposed to the percentage of registered voters who vote — to track participation by anyone who could legally register and vote in a state.
Nationally, the Post analysis projected turnout by the voting-eligible population will reach 66.5% — the highest mark in a century.