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In this photo taken on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, election workers Nicole Smith, left, and Raul Martinez, center, hold a sign warning voters about the 8 p.m. deadline before collecting ballots at a drop box on East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Yakima, Wash.

The Yakima County Auditor’s Office reported strong returns on the first day of voting.

The elections office had received 6,958 ballots as of Friday, a return rate of about 6%.

That count is more than double the number of ballots received in the first few days of returns during the 2016 presidential election. The county received 2,960 ballots as of Oct. 24 of that year. Turnout in that election was 71%.

Yakima County has conducted elections by mail since 2005. Ballots were mailed to voters earlier this week, and are due at 8 p.m. Nov. 3. They can be returned to red county drop boxes or through the U.S. Postal Service. Mailed ballots need to be postmarked by Nov. 3.

The Yakima County election teams will be collecting from the red box drop sites twice as often as usual. Any voter who sees anything “out of the ordinary” should call the elections office at 509-574-1340, County Auditor Charles Ross said.

The office is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for anyone interested in viewing the process. Voters can check the status of their returned ballot at the website VoteWa.gov.

Reach Lex Talamo at ltalamo@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @LexTalamo.