Spokane County shows good ballot returns one week ahead of election

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County is already reporting strong returns on mail-in ballots, just more than a week ahead of the general election.

According to the Spokane County Elections Office, the county has returned 23 percent of mail-in ballots. Washington State reporting that almost 800,000 ballots had been returned as of the weekend.

But, the elections office says even with these strong numbers, residents shouldn't totally trust the results that are reported Tuesday, Nov. 8.

According to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, only around 50 percent of the ballots will be returned by Tuesday, and as long as ballots are postmarked that day, it still has nearly 20 days to arrive at the elections office to be counted. She says that means Tuesday night's results could change quite a bit in the days after the election.

Dalton said, especially with this election, they expect most ballots to be returned at the last minute.

"In this election, our expectation is at least half the ballots we're going to count are going to be put in the mail, or put in the white bins within 48 hours of that deadline," she said.

Dalton says much more accurate results will be posted around next Friday.

Dalton explained in the 2006 election, Spokane saw a dramatic shift in election results in the days after the general election. She says that year the election took a five percent swing from leaning Democrat to leaning Republican. She says most Democrats voted early that year, while Republicans waited until the last minute, and says we could see similar results this year.