Kitsap voters flooding Elections Division with returning ballots

Up to 90 percent of those registered expected to vote

One thing workers at Kitsap County’s Election Division can say with certainty this year is voter interest in the general election has not only bubbled to the top of the proverbial kettle, it has overflowed beyond expectations.

That’s evidenced anecdotally in part by overloaded telephone lines and lines leading out the door of the Elections Division office at the Kitsap County Administration Building in Port Orchard.

Several Kitsap County registered voters stood outside the door and were busily filling out their ballots prior to depositing their envelopes into a collection dropbox. Two first-time voters — a couple — said they showed up this time around because the presidential election motivated them.

“I guess we didn’t have an excuse not to vote this year,” said the man, who didn’t want to be identified. “It’s definitely important to make a decision this time around.”

Steve Gardner, the elections spokesman, said county officials are expecting a return of up to 90 percent of registered voters. As of Tuesday morning, Gardner said 189,364 voters were on file.

“We hired 120 people to work the ballots at the vote center,” Gardner said. “So far [as of Tuesday morning], 74.5 percent of the ballots were received via dropbox, 22 percent by mail.”

Inside the Elections Division, workers were busy scanning ballots to a secure drive. He said officials are not able to view the results as they are being tabulated. At a little past 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the Gardner said the results will be made known. And then updates to the Nov. 3 election will be announced in late afternoons in following days.

There’s still time for county residents to register to vote, but they’ll need to come to the Elections Division office to do so, or at specified locations in Bremerton and Poulsbo.

Voter registration is being accepted at Kitsap Elections, 619 Division St. in Port Orchard, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 30; from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2; and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Alternate locations to register are at Marvin Williams Recreation Center, 725 Park Ave., in Bremerton, and Poulsbo Vote Center, Poulsbo Fire Station, 911 NE Liberty Road. Both locations will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 2; and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 3.

Once voters have registered and have filled out their ballots, they can drop off the envelope either to the Kitsap Elections Division in Port Orchard or the following drop box locations:

Bainbridge Island: Bainbridge Island School District, 8489 Madison Ave. NE

Poulsbo: Fire Station, Poulsbo; or Olympic College,1000 Olympic College Way NW

Kingston: North Kitsap Fire & Rescue,26642 Miller Bay Rd. NE or Village Green Park, 10810 NE Kingston Rd.

Port Gamble: S’Klallam Tribal Center,31912 Little Boston Rd. NE

Suquamish: Tribal Council Building,18490 Suquamish Way NE

Hansville: Norwegian Point Park,38950 Hansville Rd. NE

Indianola: Tennis Courts,20761 Greenwood St. NE

For details call 360-337-7129 or go to kitsapgov.com/auditor/Pages/elections.aspx.