Thousands have already voted

The Island County Auditor’s Office has received approximately 5,000 ballots back from voters for the Aug. 21 primary election.

Elections workers are busy sorting through the ballots for the all-mail election to make sure each one is undamaged and correctly filled out. Deputy Auditor Michele Reagan said staff members physically inspect each ballot. Any damaged or questionable ballots are saved to be reviewed by the canvassing board.

In all, the auditor’s office mailed out approximately 17,500 ballots last week to voters in Oak Harbor and Coupeville, the only places in the county where a primary is needed.

Oak Harbor voters will pare the number of mayoral, city council and school board candidates from three to two for each position. Coupeville voters will do the same for a city council position. The survivors will advance to the general election in November.

Reagan said it’s hard to say what kind of turnout will take place for the primary election. There is still a week to go for voters to mail in their ballots, although it might be a good sign that nearly one-third have already voted and returned their ballots.

Reagan said she expects staff to start scanning ballots into the computer on Friday, preparing them for the first count at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Statewide, Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts 34 percent of eligible voters will participate in the state’s first August primary election. It was moved up one month to give auditors more time to prepare for the general election.

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