Pierce County Voters Line Up for Last-Minute Ballot Returns on Election Tuesday

Pierce County Annex in Tacoma is buzzing Tuesday afternoon as voters drop off ballots in the drive-thru drop-off center. Learn more about how the county is voting.

Pierce County Annex is bustling on Election Day as local voters stop in to submit their votes for the future president and local representatives, gay marriage and marijuana decriminalization.

The drive-thru ballot dropoff stations outside the county building have been busy all day, said elections worker Faith Homan.

"I've been here since 7 a.m. and I would say I've been able to sit down for all of 15 seconds today," said Homan.

Check out these election numbers, released Tuesday afternoon from the Pierce County Auditors Office:

Ballot Statistics (as of 10 p.m. on Mon., Nov. 5)

  • Total registered voters – 442,985
  • Total ballots returned – 251,347
  • Returned by mail – 139,741
  • Returned at drop box – 111,606
  • Ballots scanned so far – 113,163

Tuesday’s Highlights (so far):

  • Ballots received from post office: Approx. 12,000 in check-in process (43 trays)
  • Ballots scanned: 23,999

Monday’s Highlights:

  • Ballots returned – 50,459
  • Returned by mail – 21,606
  • Ballot drop boxes were hot! Returned at drop box – 28,853
  • Voting Center turnout – 2,288
    • Our busiest location was right here at the Annex Voting Center
  • Ballots scanned Monday:  89,164

Percent of ballots returned based on percent of registered voters = 56.74 percent

Percent of ballots returned based on percent of expected turnout = 70.92 percent

(Based on an 80% turnout prediction)

Historical Comparison:

2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 59.41% 35.63% 53.66% 42.35% 56.74%


Common questions Pierce County is receiving from voters:

Why isn’t the Pierce Transit issue on my ballot?

  • In May, the communities of Bonney Lake, Buckley, DuPont, Orting, Sumner and large portions of unincorporated Pierce County were removed from the Pierce Transit taxing district/service area.
  • The Pierce Transit boundary and voting district was reduced by the Public Transportation Improvement Conference.
  • If this measure passes, the sales tax will only be collected inside the voting boundary.
  • 105,450 voters were removed from the district.

I’ve moved from another county, but never changed my address. Where can I vote?

  • The best thing to do is vote at a voting center in the county where you are registered. Voters can vote a provisional ballot at any voting center in the state. We’ll count the issues a voter is eligible to vote on.

 Pierce County voters can:

  • Put their ballot in one of 27 secure drop boxes located around the county. Drop box and Voting Center locations can be found at www.piercecountyelections.org.
  • Visit one of our six Voting Centers where they can get special assistance, such as a replacement ballot if they lost their ballot.
  • Put a stamp on it and mail it. But, we don’t advise mailing today. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6.
    • A special note of caution: the Post Office is not extending its hours the way it does on Tax Day, so advise voters to use a drop box or a voting center. 

Staffing plan:

  • Yesterday, 413 staff supported the election process.
  • Today, we’ve deployed 498 staff to support Election Day.
  • We’ll run two shifts today through Friday, 6 a.m. through 12 a.m.
  • We will work weekends and Veterans Day. 

10th Congressional District misprinted ballots update:

Voters in two Pierce County precincts were issued misprinted ballots with the incorrect congressional district. Voters were called and sent a corrected ballot immediately after the mistake was identified. Voters who sent only the incorrect ballot were called on Saturday, Nov. 3 and reminded to return their correct ballot by the deadline.

Voters who have returned the corrected ballot:  479

Voters who have returned only the incorrect ballot:  112

This turnout is consistent with past turnout in this area.

Questions You May Have, with Answers from the Auditor's Office:

Q: I’ve heard that voters in King County are concerned about party representatives collecting ballots for voters. Is this happening in Pierce County?

We haven’t heard reports of this happening here. We’ve provided 27 ballot drop boxes and 6 voting centers located across Pierce County. We urge voters to use one of these options for returning their ballot today. The deadline is 8 p.m.

Q: Are you on track to meet expected turnout?

Yes. Our returns are strong. We expect to hit 80 percent turnout.

Q: Are there any tight races?

We won’t speculate on the results of any race. You’ll know more tonight when we release the first round of results at 8:15 p.m.

Q: How many ballots does Pierce County expect to release tonight?

We expect to release results for 175,000 voters tonight.

Q: Is the county on track to meet that goal?

Yes. On Monday, we scanned 85,000 ballots. We’ll exceed that number today.

Q: When will additional results be released?

  • Election night: 11 p.m.
  • Nov. 7 - 9: daily at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Nov. 10 – 21: daily at 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 26: 5 p.m.

Q: When will the vast majority of county ballots be tabulated and results reported?

We expect to have 90 percent of the results reported by Friday, Nov. 9. By Monday, Nov. 12, we expect to reach 95 percent counted.

Q: Is this Pierce County's first vote-by-mail election?

No. We haven’t had a polling place open since November, 2010.  In the 2008 Presidential Election, 87 percent of our voters returned a mail ballot. Only 13 percent of our voters voted at a polling place.


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