Turnout already about 26 percent for election

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WALLA WALLA — With only a week to go, slightly more than a quarter of Walla Walla County’s voters have returned their ballots for Nov. 7 general election, county officials said today.

Walla Walla County Elections Supervisor Debbie Benavides said that as of Monday 8,375 ballots had been received by the elections office. That’s slightly more than 26 percent of the 31,704 ballots mailed out on Oct. 19 to voters.

Ballots must be dropped off or postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 6, to be valid.

Monday was also the deadline for new Washington state voters to register. County Auditor Karen Martin said Monday that about 1,200 new registrations have come in her office since the primary election. That figure does not include those who registered Monday.

The returns reported in Walla Walla County appear to be keeping pace with other counties in the state. According to The Seattle Times today, King County elections officials said they have received more than a quarter of the roughly 1 million ballots expected to be cast in that county as of Monday.

King County Elections spokeswoman Kim van Ekstrom told the Times the county had 60,000 new voter registrations since June.

According to the Tri-City Herald today, about 28 percent of Benton County ballots and 25 percent of Franklin County ballots had been returned as of Monday.

According to The Times, King County is projecting 87 percent voter turnout, a figure substantially higher than the statewide voter turnout of 81 percent projected by Secretary of State Sam Reed. Statewide turnout hit an all-time record of nearly 85 percent in the 2008 election.

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