Voter turnout is hot a day before Election Day

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SEATTLE - No matter which side you are voting for, it’s clear voters across Washington are energized.

Election officials say the turnout a day before Election Day feels more like a presidential election than a midterm with many turning out to vote.

In fact, King County had nearly double the voters turn in their ballots by Monday compared to the same time during the last midterms in 2014.

Batches of ballots are getting checked in for the first time at King County Elections.

They can scan through 40,000 ballots in just an hour. After the ballots are logged in, the signatures on the envelopes are validated not by computers, but people.

“They are looking at every single signature. Once we say 'yes, it's a signature on file,' then it goes to opening,” Chief of Staff Kendall Hodson said.

Once the ballot comes out of the envelope, the vote becomes anonymous, ready to be counted on Tuesday.

“We are not allowed to tabulate anything until 8 p.m.,” Hodson said.

We don't know what the votes are, but we do have some insight into the turnout.

“It's enormous, absolutely,” Hodson said.

As of Monday, King County had received nearly 628,000 ballots. In the last midterm, in 2014, that number was around 338,000.

Federal Way resident Janie Holloway says she did not vote in 2014 and regrets it.

“I am dropping by to vote,” Holloway said.

The motivation for others comes down to taxes.

“My taxes have doubled, and I really haven't seen my money's worth,” Tino Sanchez said.

Sanchez admits this midterm is the first time he's voted since 1974.

“Because I didn't care how our government was going,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez says he`s paying attention now and did the research on some of the hotly contested issues.

For many voters, that includes local and national seats.

“A lot of people feel strongly about the politicians one way or another,” Doug Schmitz said.

Schmitz says he also cares about the grocery tax, the carbon tax and gun reform.

But even if a voter is not energized by a specific local issue, experts say many times voters are reacting to the political drama on the national level.

“In midterm elections, a lot of decisions to show up to vote or not to vote is about sending a national message,” Seattle University political science instructor Patrick Schoettmer said.

As of Monday, King County officials say about 48 percent of registered voters had turned in their ballots. When all the ballots come, in they predict the number to be around 70 precent.

Your ballot needs to be postmarked by Tuesday to count. Election officials are asking voters to consider dropping their votes off at any of the many ballot drop boxes. You can drop your ballot in those boxes until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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