#4ThePeople: Spokane County sees dip in mail-in ballots, officials prepare for drop-box votes to surge

SPOKANE, Wash. — On the day before midterms, Spokane County’s elections office is noticing a new trend and preparing for a surge of voters on Tuesday.

The county auditor says they received around 4,500 mail-in ballots Monday morning. They were expecting around 6,000 ballots to come in. Over the next three days, they’re now expecting to see 100,000 ballots make their way into the elections office.

On Monday, some voters made sure to make their voice heard.

“It was exciting,” said Blake Bonham. He voted for the first time in this election and had to come in for an address change. “My ballot was supposed to come in the mail, but I had the wrong address. I had my fraternity address still on record, so the rest of my family’s ballot showed up and mine didn’t, so I was like where’s my ballot?”

He fixed the issue and was given a new ballot. Election workers are seeing more people come in now with last minute issues.

“A lot of people, they’re new to the area, they’re registering to vote for the first time, or they lost their ballot,” said Mike McLaughlin. He’s the manager for the Spokane County Elections Office.

Ballots are being processed as fast as possible with extreme attention to detail.

“Every signature is verified by human eyes, so we look at every signature to go through,” McLaughlin said. “They count them six times to make sure the right number of ballots they got are the right number of ballots counted.”

Pamela Richardson is another early voter also needing to make a last-minute change to her ballot envelope. She’s encouraging everyone to vote.

“I’m just surprised there aren’t more people here,” Richardson added.

At the elections office, there are now 212 observers watching the election process. This is slightly higher than in previous years.

As votes are counted, the countdown is on for you to vote and make your voice heard this midterm.

“We’re expecting heavy turnout at drop boxes and through the mail tomorrow and Wednesday,” McLaughlin concluded.

There are about 40,000 more registered voters in Spokane County now compared to 2018. You have until 8’o-clock on Tuesday night to register to vote, drop off your ballot or mail one in.

READ: #4ThePeople: Where to drop your ballot and how to find your polling location