A Dive into Election Turnout
76.2% Voter Turnout in Kittitas County! Did the work of the League of Women Voters impact November voter turnout in any way? Did our voter registration work account for some of the improvement? Did our Get Out The Vote strategies impact turnout? Did the Candidate Forum make a difference? Let’s look into that!
So the 2018 election is over and the Kittitas County votes and turnout were certified at 76.02%. The last midterm election (2014) had a county turnout of 60.45%. This represents an increase of +15.75%! It is clear that the electorate was motivated to turnout this year and for a variety of local and national reasons.
- 1,230 – increase in ballots issued in the county for 2018 over 2017, an increase of 5%
- 1,314 – increase in ballots issued in 2018 over the 2016 presidential election year, an increase of 5.36%
Population growth in Kittitas County may explain some of the increase. When asked, County officials guesstimated the population is growing 2-3% per year. So let’s split the difference and say 2.5% growth accounts for 646 of the 1230 ballot increase. That leaves 584 more ballots or, in other words, 584 new voters.
This year, the Kittitas Valley League of Women Voters and its volunteers, registered 331 voters, with an additional 75 registering online for a total of 406 voter registrations. However, since we focused efforts on and around CWU campus, many of these student registrations were for areas outside Kittitas County.
So we cannot say that all of our voter registrations account for the lion’s share of 584. In October, our Candidates Night forum drew a standing room crowd (with hundreds watching on ECTV). Clearly the level of interest in candidates testified to an engaged electorate. We like to think that our Candidates Nights assist voters in making a ballot decision.
However, we CAN say that the work of other grassroots groups (such as Fuse, Indivisible, etc.), who worked tirelessly to register voters in this year, and the work of the League of Women Voters helped raise the number of registered voters in Kittitas County by over 2 points. Our tireless efforts encouraged county residents to exercise their right to vote in near-record numbers, resulting in an increase in midterm turnout of nearly 16%.
We count that a shared success!