The Benton and Franklin elections departments are both accepting ballots for the Nov. 8 general election until 8 p.m. .
But it’s too late to stick them in the mail.
Mailed ballots needed to be sent by Nov. 4 to get postmarked in time since Tri-City mail is processed in Spokane.
Benton and Franklin county auditors encouraged all Tri-City voters to use drop boxes scattered in both counties rather than take a chance that their ballots won’t be stamped in time.
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Voters can check their “ballot status” at myvote.wa.gov to insure their ballot was accepted for tabulating.
By Monday, just over 51 percent of Benton County voters had returned their ballots and about 34 percent of Franklin County voters had submitted them. The numbers will likely jump Monday night when the weekend’s arrivals are added.
Voter turnout is expected to top 80 percent because of the hotly contested open presidential seat. In 2008, the last time the U.S. elected a new president, the local turnout rate reached 84 percent.
For all the live breaking election news and updates go to the Tri-City Herald website, tricityherald.com. Because of the historic election, the Herald is offering free, unlimited access through Friday to all its online content.
For Washington voters, there are plenty of reasons to vote. There are about three dozen other races on the general election ballot.
Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, faces a reelection challenge from Seattle Republican Bill Bryant, while U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, is facing Republican challenger Chris Vance.
All statewide elected seats are on the ballot, from governor to insurance commissioner. There are ballot measures to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020 and to impose a carbon tax.
Locally, U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, is facing challenger Clint Didier, a Franklin County Republican he narrowly defeated in 2014.
While no city council or school board seats are on the ballot this election, posts on both the Benton and Franklin county commissions are on the ballot, as are numerous seats in the state House and Senate and a number of Superior Court judicial positions as well.
West Richland and Kahlotus voters are voting on library funding, and Benton City voters will advise their city council on the legalization of marijuana-related businesses.
Drop box locations are printed on ballot return envelopes as well.
Benton County Drop Box Sites
- Benton City City Hall, 708 Ninth St.
- Benton County Auditor’s Kennewick Annex, 5600 W. Canal Drive.
- Benton County Auditor’s Richland Annex, 101 Wellsian Way
- Benton County Courthouse, 620 Market St., Prosser
- Kennewick City Hall, 210 W. Sixth Ave.
- West Richland City Clerk, 3801 W. Van Giesen St.
- Jefferson Park, 1400 George Washington Way, Richland
Franklin County Drop Box Sites
- Fire Protection District No. 3, 2108 Road 84, Pasco
- Election Center, 116 N. Third Ave., Pasco
- TRAC, 6600 Burden Blvd., Pasco
- Franklin County Courthouse, 1016 N. Fourth Ave., Pasco
- Connell PUD Shop, 619 W. Clark St.