In the southeastern corner of Washington state, folks took their voting seriously. Or, at least, more seriously than the rest of the state where just over a quarter (27.1%) returned their ballots.
Garfield County had the highest voter turnout in the state at 57.46% while Columbia County came in an impressive third out of 39 counties with a 47.4% turnout rate.
Still, it’s a bit sad that a voter turnout hovering just over half of the registered voters is actually a reason to cheer.
Unfortunately, Walla Walla County fell short of the statewide average with a turnout of just 21.03%.
Surely we can do better. And as more ballots dribble in over the next few days Walla Walla and other counties, the numbers will increase. The turnout won’t look quite so lousy.
Last year, voter turnout for the General Election in Walla Walla County was over 70 percent, which is considered high in a year when the president is not on the ballot.
But why should it matter whether the election is for president, governor, senator, county commissioner or city council member? Each of those positions plays a role, and they make in impact in our life in some way.
In reality, our votes matters more in local elections such as city council or school board because there are far fewer people voting.
When you cast a ballot for governor, you are one of 4.5 million voters. When you vote for Port of Walla Walla commissioner, you are one vote out of 35,310 voters. Your vote, percentage wise, has a bigger impact.
Perhaps that’s why voter turnout is so much higher in the more rural counties of Washington such as Columbia and Garfield counties. Maybe they better grasp that their vote does matter. When voters in Dayton or Pomeroy are electing city council members there is sometimes only a few hundred people casting a ballot.
Still, that’s no excuse not to vote in every election.
If every registered voter cast a ballot at every election, would it change the results? Perhaps.
And maybe that would reduce the Eeyore-like pessimism that seems pervasive today when it comes to our constant complaining about governments.