Voting On, But Chelan Co. Auditor Says Ballots Now Come In Later
Washington's vote-by-mail process for November's election is now in progress.
But there's been a change in recent years with most voters submitting their ballots on election day or just before hand, according to Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore.
He said the trend started in 2020 during the pandemic when some groups around the country built up a distrust in early and mail-in voting.
"A lot of comments were, hold your vote until just before the election in a mail-in vote environment because groups were saying that it gave the elections offices less chance to do nefarious things with your ballot," said Moore.
Former President Donald Trump, who was in office at the time, is also on record stating numerous times that there could be wide-scale fraud across the country, because of the expected increase in mail-in voting amid the pandemic.
About two-thirds of the ballots in Chelan County are now submitted in the final days of the election, according to Moore.
He says the result has been a delay in his office's ability to report results, which could lead to even more skepticism.
"It became protracted results because of the fact that if we get in 10,000 ballots on November 7th, we're not going to be able to get them into the results to show the results until the 9th," Moore said.
He added that the trend of last-minute ballot returns seems to be turning into a habit for many voters.
Moore says about eight percent of the ballots have been returned in the current election so far in Chelan County.
He’s expecting the final turn out to be about 50-55 percent, which is above the typical odd numbered year total of 47-48 percent.
Odd numbered year elections typically feature local city and county races.
Even numbered year elections which feature mass advertising for major congressional and presidential elections average far higher turnout rates across Washington state, including more than 80 percent in Chelan County.