Unprecedented numbers of voters beat registration deadline in King County

By: Gary Horcher

Updated:

RENTON, Wash. - At 5:58 p.m., two minutes before King County's looming deadline to register voters for the 2016 election, Nancy Bailey rushed through the door of Election Headquarters in Renton. 

Bailie, who doesn't remember the last time she voted, says this year's contentious campaigning on several issues gave her motivation to get involved. 

"I said to myself, I have got to do this, I am an American citizen," she said. 

"I had to do this for my children, my grandchildren, and myself," said Bailey. "I'm here to make a difference!"

Exactly two minutes later, at 6:00 p.m. election workers kept the doors open for first time voter Jesus Lopez, who had just turned 18. 

"My brother actually saw Monday was the last day to register, so he dragged me down from my studies, and here I am now, ready to vote for the first time," Lopez said. 

Lopez's brother Irving said Jesus will be voting for his entire family. 

"I am not eligible to vote," said Irving Lopez. "I'm a green card holder, so it's very important for me personally to make sure my brother is able to vote, because he is a U.S. Citizen."

Lopez and Bailey are part of an unprecedented influx of new voters in King County, according to Elections officials. 

"We've seen an actual increase of over 100,000 voter registrations," Said Julie Wise, director of King County Elections. "We now have 1,280,000 voters here in King County. That's the most ever."

Elections officials expect and unprecedented amount of balance in the next seven days. Dozens of extra workers have been hired to pull a second shift, scanning ballots until 2:00 a.m. 

Jesus Lopez says one of those ballots will represent his family for the very first time.

"It just feels pretty good to be able to vote for my family," he said. 

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