A voter puts a ballot in a Yakima County election drop box Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, on East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Yakima, Wash.

The Yakima County Auditor’s Office had counted 21,795 of 39,291 returned ballots as of Wednesday, with more still coming in from drop boxes.

The office received as many ballots Tuesday and Wednesday as it had in the past 12 days, said Yakima County Elections Manager Kathy Fisher.

As of Wednesday, voter turnout was 32.97% — already exceeding general election turnout in November 2015 and 2017, according to records from the Auditor’s Office.

The next ballot count is expected Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

The updated vote count solidified the failure of a $10 million Toppenish School District levy that would have funded a new high school gymnasium and classrooms. The approval rate slipped from 47.29% Tuesday night to 46.48% Wednesday.

A Union Gap levy to fund the annexation of a planned library into the Yakima Valley Libraries district garnered an additional percentage point, for a total of 62.93% voter approval in the second count. The measure requires a simple majority to pass.

A previously deadlocked race for commissioner of Fire District 1 in Highland leaned toward George Town on Wednesday, with a 4-vote lead over Phil Nelson, 204 to 200.

Results for Yakima City Council seats held. Kenton Gartrell had 57% approval in District 1; Patricia Byers had 57% in District 3; Soneya Lund had 59% in District 5; and incumbent Holly Cousens, whose former opponent’s name remained on the ballot after dropping out, had 75% in District 7.


In a Selah school board race, Dan Peters claimed a landslide win over AJ Cooper with 64% approval or 1,231 of 1,932 votes.

Additional ballots in Wapato solidified City Council and mayoral votes. Keith Workman appears to have taken the position of mayor, with 71% approval or 129 votes, compared to Joseph Wofford’s 50. Chuck Stephens and Jesse Farias took the lead in positions 1 and 2, with over 75% voter approval.

Margaret Estrada and Tony Guzman each gained percentage points overnight, with 57% and 54% voter approval for positions 4 and 5, respectively. Judith Owens-Canapo had 66% approval in Position 6 in the latest count, gaining nearly 4 percentage points, while Caroline Solis gained nearly 10 percentage points overnight for a lead of 60% or 108 votes to Karina Lara’s 71.

The election results will be certified at noon Nov 26.

Reach Janelle Retka at jretka@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @janelleretka