It isn’t over until the last votes are cast, but if trends continue, the town of Eatonville will be able to claim the unofficial title of (drumroll, please) Top Voting Jurisdiction of Pierce County in the primary election that ends Aug. 6.
As of last Friday, and with 11 days left for ballots to be turned in, Eatonvlle had the highest percentage of returned ballots, with 9.7 percent (153) of the 1,569 registered voters in town. No other town, city or district with offices on the ballot was higher than 8 percent, and there was only one that high. Everybody else was in the 7 percent range or lower.
True, the town has one of the three smallest voter rolls in the election, so one could argue that a barely respectable level of participation is enough to be leading the most-voted derby on a percentage basis. But it isn’t just about lack of size. The town of Wilkeson has a mere 273 registered voters, yet only 20 had voted, barely cracking 7 percent in turnout.
Also true is that this is an election in which there are no high-profile state or national offices to lather up voter interest, and that in many of the voting jurisdictions, there is only one race on their ballots in the primary, as is the case in Eatonville, too. That makes it hard to get more than a ho-hum from the electorate.
Big voter rolls don’t overcome a listless election, either. The race with the largest voter base is Tacoma Port Commissioner, which is a countywide office and thus has a pool of all 445,899 registered voters in the county. Only 5.5 percent of them (25,131) had turned in their ballots by last Friday.
The moral? I’m not sure there is one. But the gold star for participation in electoral civics goes to Eatonville get the blue for giving a bigger hoot about who gets to be their mayor than voters in other jurisdictions care about choices for local leaders.