WENATCHEE — In the Nov. 6 election, Chelan County saw its strongest off-year turnout since 2013. Forty-nine percent of registered voters got their ballot in to Auditor Skip Moore’s office, a 10 percent increase over the 2017 elections.
“I had hoped for 50,” Moore said Thursday. “I always hope for 100. However, we’ve never quite gotten there yet. But I was expecting around 50 and we got righ t up at it.”
The trend was similar all around North Central Washington: 46 percent turnout in Douglas County; 41.5 in Grant County; 47 in Okanogan. Everywhere, those numbers showed improvements of 5 percent to almost 15 percent over turnout two years ago. Three of the four counties did better than the statewide turnout average of 45 percent.
“Our participation compared to the statewide number seems to always to have been a little bit higher,” Moore said. “… If you look at some of the smaller counties, as your county gets smaller, it’s easier, and you have higher return rates. If you look at Garfield or some of those counties, quite often you see up in the 60s sometimes.”
The last time voter turnout was this high locally in a non-federal election, it was 2013. But voter enrollment could always be better. Moore estimates about 10,000 people in Chelan County could vote, but aren’t registered.
“I mail out 46,000 ballots,” Moore said. “I’d like to get 46,000 ballots back. That’d be wonderful. And you’ve always got to remember: People that participate are determining everyone else’s life. So that’s the important part. If you’re not participating in the election, somebody else is making the decision for you.”