Early voter turnout down in King County as candidates gear up for final push

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — The day before midterm elections, candidates high on the ballot made a final push to voters in a frenzy of events Monday.

As of Monday morning, early voter turnout was 36% in King County, according to the King County Director of Elections. The county is projecting a 72% turnout.

“We do know this is typical in our election cycle, to see 50% of voters showing up early and 50% waiting until Election Day or the day before,” Wise said. However, she said that early voter turnout this year was lower than in 2018, which saw a 44% turnout by this time.

In their final efforts to appeal to those last-minute voters, both U.S. Senate candidates, incumbent Sen. Patty Murray (D) and challenger Tiffany Smiley (R) finished up another busy day of campaign events around Western Washington on Monday.

“I’m feeling really good,” Smiley said at an event in Tumwater.

“I am feeling so good,” Murray said after an Issaquah event.

Both candidates are projecting confidence ahead of the final countdown, but are clearly far from comfortable enough to take a break on the day before Nov. 8.

Each made three final campaign stops on Monday — asking voters to also remind and convince others.

“We want to make sure they don’t wake up Wednesday morning and say, ‘oh I forgot to send my ballot in,’” Murray said.

“When you vote it’s not just you voting, tell 10 people,” Smiley said. “Every single vote is going to count in this election,” she said.

Voters say they’ve seen the onslaught of political ads.

“I’m ready for it to be over,” said Dave, an Issaquah voter. He said his top concerns were crime and safety, and inflation. “I’m feeling optimistic,” he said about this election cycle.

Suzi Suelzle, a Sammamish voter, was more nervous.

“I am freaking out,” Suelzle said. “It’s just really overwhelming it really is, the issues at stake,” she said. She said women’s reproductive rights, the environment, and Medicare and social security were her top issues.

In remarks to their respective crowds today, each U.S. Senate candidate touted their work.

“You know what Democrats are? We are not whiners, we are doers,” Murray said.

“I was working with President Trump’s administration and working with every Democrat, every Republican,” Smiley said.

With every poll, it shows the gap between the two candidates shrinking. An average of the polls by FiveThirtyEight shows Murray still up by 4.7%. But the latest poll that was conducted by a pro-Smiley group says the candidates are tied, each with 47% of voters.

KIRO 7 asked the same question to both Murray and Smiley.

“In the event you don’t win this election, will you accept the results?” Sun asked.

“I’m very confident about tomorrow night but I’m also somebody who believes in the elections and the results,” Murray said.

“Oh absolutely — the voters will decide and I’m very optimistic about where we’re at, we’ve come a long way,” Smiley said.

You must be in line for a ballot box by 8 p.m. on Tuesday night to cast your vote, or have it postmarked by Nov. 8.