Thanks to the shift to district elections, all nine Seattle City Council seats are up for election this year, including an astounding four open seats! So you’d think voter turnout would be sky high, right? Well, not so much.
Turnout is low. Abysmally low. The most recent ballot return statistics suggests that countywide turnout could fall under 40 percent, the lowest general election turnout as far back as I’ve bothered to look.
That’s just awful. And Seattle proper isn’t faring much, tracking toward below 45 percent turnout compared to 52 percent in 2013. So much for district elections generating renewed interest in city council races.
So what does that mean for tonight’s results? I’m not exactly sure. It could mean that voters are just voting really late, and we’ll see a surge of ballots pour in today and tomorrow. Or, since the most reliable voters tend to also be the most conservative, it could be bad news for lefty candidates across the board. (Well, every lefty but Kshama Sawant: D3 is a turnout outlier tracking toward 50 percent thanks to her impressive GOTV efforts.)
One thing I do know is that with “too close to call” stretching toward the 8-point range after Sawant’s 2013 late-ballot comeback, several races will be left officially undecided after tonight’s ballot drop—probably D1, D4, and both Honest Elections and Let’s Move Seattle. Maybe even D8 and D2.
So stay tuned for a week or so of wonky election results analysis.