The 2020 general election is officially in the books in Yakima County, with local turnout at 75.95%.
The final results, certified on Tuesday, didn’t change the outcome of any local races. Amanda McKinney won a county commissioner seat and Elisabeth Tutsch, Jeff Swan and Blaine Gibson won Yakima County Superior Court judge positions. McKinney will be sworn in Wednesday.
While Yakima County voter turnout was the lowest in the state, it was higher than during the 2016 presidential election, for both Yakima County voters in general and those with Spanish surnames. Statewide, voter turnout was 84.1%.
Official county elections data showed 96,985 voters turned up to vote this election cycle, compared to 80,912 in 2016, an almost 20% increase.
County elections data also showed that 4,321 more voters with Spanish surnames voted this election cycle than in the 2016 election cycle, with a total 21,281 voters participating this year.
Turnout among voters with a Spanish surname increased from 56% in 2016 to 60% this year.
“We were excited to see an increase in voter participation amongst voters with Spanish surname,” said Yolanda Arellano, the county’s bilingual program analyst.
Between the announcement of unofficial results on election night and Tuesday’s certified results, Yakima County elections staff went through several routine steps required by state law, including a review of challenged ballots and an audit of the ballot counting system.
Ballots must be turned into county dropboxes or postmarked by Nov. 3. After Nov. 3, staff continue to verify, open and count ballots as needed, with updates posted online.
The Yakima County Canvassing Board, the official county election governing body, met Monday to review challenged ballots. The board consists of Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Brusic, and Board of Yakima County Commissioners Chair Ron Anderson.
A ballot is challenged when the signature on the ballot does not match the signature on the voter’s registration form. Voters can submit signatures on a second form, called a cure form, that elections staff use to resolve issues.
The canvassing board meeting was open to view by the public, as were all other steps of the elections process.
This year, a total of 107 of 214 challenged ballots were cured — meaning they were counted — compared to 55 of 205 challenged ballots in 2016, according to the Auditor’s Office.
For unsigned ballots that were challenged, 248 of 416 were cured this year, compared to 155 of 305 in 2016.