Chelan and Douglas county voters are taking their time returning their ballots

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Ballots for the Nov. 5 election are being returned at a snail’s pace according to Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore.

As of Wednesday morning, just over 15 percent of the ballots mailed out had been returned.

That may be due to the large number of statewide items on the ballot this year, Moore said.

Those appear first on the ballot and include 12 advisory votes, in addition to a referendum and initiative.

“I think the slow part is as a result of the front page being all initiatives and/or advisory votes,” Moore said. “Folks are wanting to do their homework and look into the voter’s pamphlet before they make their decisions. It’s a pretty daunting ballot with all that on the front.”

Advisory votes are non-binding, meaning the results can be ignored by the Legislature.

They came about as a result of Initiative 60, approved by voters in 2007. If the Legislature approves a tax increase it must then go to a vote of the people, if only in an advisory way.

The Legislature this year approved many such tax increases.

There are 46,210 registered voters in Chelan County. So far, only 7,195 ballots have been returned. Moore had predicted a 50 percent voter turnout.

In Douglas County, 20 percent of the ballots have been returned as of Wednesday morning.

Auditor Thad Duvall says the rate of return will have to increase this weekend in order to rise to the 45 percent turnout he predicted.

The deadline for turning in a ballot is 8 p.m. next Tuesday.