Yakima County had the lowest voter turnout percentage in the state on Nov. 6, but roughly 20,000 more people voted compared to the last midterm election.
Election results were certified on Tuesday.
Of 115,873 registered voters in Yakima County, 71,585 — or 61.78 percent — voted. It was the lowest turnout percentage in the state, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.
Leading the state was San Juan County, where 83.83 percent of registered voters — 11,226 out of 13,392 — voted. Second to last was Asotin County, where 63.58 percent of registered voters — 9,254 out of 14,554 — cast a ballot.
Statewide, turnout was 71.78 percent.
Despite Yakima County being at the back of the pack in turnout percentage, County Elections Manager Kathy Fisher said turnout this year was good compared to previous years. She pointed to the last midterm election in 2014, where 21,023 fewer people voted. Voter turnout percentage for that year was 47.51.
She said counties typically see their voter turnout percentages shrink as more people register to vote.
“The bigger your database grows, the smaller your turnout percentage is going to be,” she said.
There are 9,421 more registered voters in the county now than in 2012, when the county saw the highest turnout percentage — 73.67 percent — it had seen since 2004.
Before election results were certified Tuesday, the county’s Canvassing Board — which is made up of elected officials — met to either approve or toss out ballots flagged by election staff during counting.
Of the 193 flagged ballots, only one was approved and counted. Most of those not counted — 170 — were for signature mismatches, where the signature on a voter’s ballot envelope didn’t match the signature on their registration form. Other reasons ballots weren’t counted include a ballot being put in a drop box without an envelope and no signature; or because voters didn’t prove their identity either while registering or before they voted.
Newly elected members of the Legislature will take office on Jan. 14. County officials — including new Sheriff Bob Udell, Clerk Tracey Slagle, Commissioner Norm Childress and Coroner Jim Curtice — will take office on Jan. 1.