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Clark County Elections staff tally the vote

Officials were hoping voter turnout would show improvement by the time polls closed Tuesday

By , Columbian staff writer
4 Photos
Ballots are inspected at the Clark County Elections Office on Tuesday morning, Nov. 2, 2021.
Ballots are inspected at the Clark County Elections Office on Tuesday morning, Nov. 2, 2021. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Clark County Elections Office staff have been working diligently to get incoming ballots for the Nov. 2 general election processed and counted.

As of Tuesday morning, 61,621 ballots out of 324,455 eligible voters had been turned in. That’s just under 19 percent, far less than the 30 to 40 percent Elections had hoped for.

On Monday, Elections Supervisor Cathie Garber said she was still hopeful for a bigger turnout and that voters were just taking extra time and caution in filling out the especially long ballot.

With nearly every city council and school district in the county with open seats, along with charter amendments, sales and use tax measures, and a variety of library, cemetery, fire protection and port districts on the ticket, voters have much to wade through.

Despite the large number of items on the ballot, Garber said off-year elections just don’t have the same draw for voters as presidential or even midterm elections. Garber said the off-year elections typically have around a 30 percent turnout.

“We thought with the county issues that are on the ballot and a sales and use tax, that it would motivate people to vote,” Garber added.

Ballots were mailed starting on Oct. 15. The Auditor’s Office, which oversees county elections, received 129 completed ballots that same day. Ballots slowly trickled back in for several days but increased sharply by Oct. 20, with more than 6,300 ballots coming in that day.

The day with the largest number of ballots returned was Oct. 27, with 9,618 ballots received.

Initial voting results were posted Tuesday evening. The Auditor’s Office will post additional voting results daily, as long as the county has at least 500 ballots to be processed. Garber said the county must have at least 500 ballots to count before posting results to ensure voters’ privacy.

The county will certify the election results on Nov. 23.

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