Politics & Government

Washington State expects highest voter turnout in 60 years

High voter turnout has long been predicted for the Nov. 4 election in Washington State, but Secretary of State Sam Reed now says officially it'll be the highest in 60 years — at 83 percent.

Kim Wyman, auditor for Thurston County, says she is bracing for an 85 percent to 90 percent turnout, possibly a county record.

Reed gave his pronouncement Monday in a news release.

"It's hard to imagine a more interesting and important general election," Reed said. "People are intrigued by the wide-open presidential race during wartime and the national and international economic crisis. We will make history, with either an African-American president or a woman vice president.

"Voters are clearly captivated by the rematch for governor between Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi, and we are seeing record-level spending for this crucial campaign, which looks like a dead heat in some of the polls. There are also dozens of important races for Congress, the Legislature, statewide offices, the courts, and local office and ballot propositions of great significance.

"This truly has the makings of a watershed election year, and we hope voters will make every effort to take part. We would hate to see anyone left out."

Reed's office said the average turnout in presidential years since 1936 has been 78.85 percent — the highest coming in 1944 at 84.5 percent and the lowest in 1996 at 74.52 percent.