Jefferson County tops in state for primary election voter turnout

After the second count of ballots Friday, Jefferson County had a 48.04 percent voter turnout, with 11,361 voters returning ballots out of the 23,649 mailed.

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County is tops in the state for primary election voter turnout.

It didn’t look like Jefferson County turnout would reach that high on Tuesday, when Tim Thomas, one of two candidates who will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot for the District 1 county commission seat, commented that he was surprised by the low turnout of 35.9 percent.

But after the second count of ballots Friday, Jefferson County had a 48.04 percent voter turnout, with 11,361 voters returning ballots out of the 23,649 mailed.

San Juan Island County was second, with a 46.92 percent voter turnout, and Garfield County was third with a 46.12 percent voter turnout.

Statewide turnout

Statewide, the voter turnout is 31.88 percent, with 1,307,865 ballots out of 4,102,5542 mailed to registered voters counted by Friday.

Only 31 ballots are left to be counted in Jefferson County — and those won’t be counted until Aug. 16 when the election is certified. San Juan County has no ballots left to be counted, and Garfield County reports that two are outstanding.

King County, however, which has a 30.87 percent voter turnout, has 61,400 ballots left to count, according to the Washington secretary of state website Friday.

So the statewide results could change.

Friday’s count of an additional 2,864 ballots didn’t change the Tuesday night outcome of the county commission race.

Democrats Kate Dean and Thomas will face off in the general election for the District 1 seat on the Jefferson County commission.

The seat was vacated by longtime commissioner Phil Johnson, who decided not to run for a fourth term.

Dean has won 2,489 votes, or 62.49 percent, and Thomas has won 786 votes, or 19.73 percent,after today’s count of an additional 2,864 ballots.

Dean 41, of Port Townsend, is the manager of the North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation & Development Council.

Thomas, 45, of Port Townsend, is a member of the county’s Parks and Recreation Board. He unsuccessfully challenged District 2 Commissioner David Sullivan in 2012.

The top-two primary race narrows the field to the two candidates who received the most votes. Those two advance to the November general election regardless of party affiliation.

Of the other two contenders in the primary race, Cynthia Koan, a Democrat, won 331 votes, or 8.31 percent, while Jeff Gallant, the lone Republican, took 304 votes, or 7.63 percent.

Jefferson County is often in the top three or four in the state in voter turnout.

In the November 2015 general election, county voters came out at 55.056 percent, behind Garfield, with 60.62 percent, Lincoln with 57.77 percent and San Juan with 57.56 percent.

In the 24th Legislative District race for Position 1, Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman, a Port Angeles Democrat, has won 14,974 votes, or 46 percent district-wide, while George Vrable, a Port Ludlow Republican, has won 12,074 votes, or 37.09 percent.

For more information on election outcomes, see the Jefferson County auditor’s website at and the Washington secretary of state website at


Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at

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