Voters are putting up eye-popping numbers in terms of returned ballots in Skagit County.
As of early afternoon Monday, the county Elections Department had collected 8,607 ballots from drop boxes throughout the county.
County spokesperson Laura Han said that represents about 11 percent of ballots sent out. While specific numbers weren’t available for comparison, Han said elections officials said it’s the highest rate of return they can remember.
“It’s only been five days since ballots were sent out,” Han said. “According to our auditor, they’ve never seen a rate of return like this.”
Skagit’s robust returns seem like part of an early statewide trend. According to the Associated Press, 50,000 ballots were returned in King County in the first three days of voting, surpassing the previous record for five days of 16,015.
Han said the early ballots in this highly anticipated election are helpful to staff, who can process the ballots and have more time to check signatures that don’t appear to match those on file.
“If everyone waited until Nov. 3 ... it would be a headache and nightmare to count them all,” she said.
While many voters have already received and returned their ballots, elections officials encourage voters who haven’t received their ballots to remain vigilant.
“If people haven’t seen their ballot by Wednesday, they should call the elections office and request a replacement,” Han said.
A total of 59,023 Skagit County residents voted in the 2016 general election, representing 79.77% of registered voters in the county. There were 80,739 registered voters in this summer’s primary election.
Skagit County elections officials collect ballots from 10 drop boxes, including at locations at the county Auditor’s Office in Mount Vernon and the Mount Vernon Police Department; the Sedro-Woolley Post Office; the Burlington Parks and Recreation Building; and the Anacortes and La Conner libraries.
For a complete list of drop-box locations and other information on voting, visit the county elections page at skagitcounty.net.