Record voter turnout continues with a week until the general election


Ballot drop boxes are still the primary way people are turning in ballots this year

CLARK COUNTY — With a week remaining before the Nov. 3 general election, nearly half of the 322,269 people who’ve registered to vote in Clark County have turned in a ballot.

As of Tuesday morning, 143,840 ballots have been returned, or 49 percent of registered voters.

Voters line up to drop off ballots. File photo
Voters line up to drop off ballots. File photo

Returns have tapered off somewhat after hitting more than 37,000 on a single day Oct. 20, to just over 13,300 on Tuesday morning.

That number actually brings returns more in line with daily totals in the 2016 and 2012 presidential election years. The 2008 election, which saw more than 85 percent voter turnout, was somewhat of an outlier with heavier voting in the final week leading up to the election.

One of the trends to watch will be whether voting tapers off sharply in the final week, or continues to remain steady. At the current rate, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey believes over 90 percent of registered voters will turn in a ballot, which would be the highest turnout in the modern era.

As of today, 52 percent of ballots have been received through one of the 22 drop boxes throughout the county. As expected, mailed ballots have picked up this week, though drop boxes are trending far ahead of prior elections. That may be due to unease with the US Postal Service, or just the increased drop box locations around the county this year.

3rd Congressional District spending breaks a record

New numbers released by the candidates for Southwest Washington’s hotly contested 3rd Congressional District rematch between incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democrat challenger Carolyn Long show the pair have broken a spending record set two years ago, the first time they faced off.

As of Oct. 14, Long and Herrera Beutler had raised nearly $7.8 million combined, shattering the $6.5 million in fundraising during the 2018 election.

Herrera Beutler has outraised Long to date, with just over $4 million to $3.69 million for the Democrat. Herrera Beutler also reported more cash on hand, with nearly $600,000 left to spend, compared to $105,000 for Long.

In 2018, Long raised over $1.2 million more than Herrera Beutler, but ended up losing by 5.34 percentage points.

A poll of 425 likely general election voters, conducted by the left-leaning Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, showed Herrera Beutler with a two-point lead in the race. Forty-nine percent said they supported the Republican, with 47 percent choosing Long. A similar poll of 400 likely voters conducted by GQR Research on Oct. 1 also showed a two-point lead for the incumbent.

Despite the closeness of the race, the FiveThirtyEight Politics computer simulation anticipates an 85 percent chance that Herrera Beutler holds on for a fifth term in Congress, up from 79 percent in early August.

Online registration no longer available

The 2020 election season has drawn immense attention from all sides, and Clark County has seen a massive increase in voter registrations. 

The elections department estimates nearly 35,000 more people have registered to vote in Clark County this year alone, far outpacing the rate of population growth.

However, Monday was the final day people could register to vote online at VoteWA.org

If you still want your vote to count, however, you’re not completely without hope. The state of Washington now allows same-day voter registration up until 8 p.m. on election night. 

To do so between now and election day, if you want to register or update your address, you’ll need to do so in person at the Clark County Elections office located at 1408 Franklin St. in Vancouver.

“We want to urge voters to not wait until next Monday and Tuesday to come to the Elections Office, but to come this week or this weekend,” said Kimsey. “The lines will be very long, and the wait time could be significant. We also thank Clark County voters who have already voted. This is so important, because if there are issues with their signature, there is plenty of time to resolve them no later than the day before certification day which is Monday, Nov. 23.”

If you’ve already turned in a ballot, you can check the status of your vote by heading to VoteWA.org and accessing the voter portal.

If you haven’t received a ballot, or you discover that yours has been rejected for some reason, you can either visit the elections office from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 31, or from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on election day. You can also call (564) 397-2345 or email elections@clark.wa.gov

The last day ballots can be mailed to voters is Wed., Oct. 28. Otherwise, the county can’t guarantee they would arrive in time to be turned in.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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