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How voter turnout compares across King County

caption: FILE: Mike Snyder waits for Jenny Durkan's arrival on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at The Westin in Seattle.
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FILE: Mike Snyder waits for Jenny Durkan's arrival on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at The Westin in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Voter turnout in some wealthier King County areas far surpassed lower income neighborhoods.

In the August primary, 35% of all King County voters cast a ballot, but some neighborhoods turned out to vote in much higher — or lower — numbers.

Broken down by precinct, the highest rates within King County were 70%. The lowest were around 6%.

The neighborhoods with the highest turnout in August tended to have high median incomes (a list of the neighborhoods is below). For example: $85,000 a year in Magnolia; $123,000 in Redmond Ridge. That's according to King County Elections results and 2017 U.S. Census Bureau statistics. One caveat: while we have precinct level turnout, we only have income by zip code, which is broader geographically than precinct.

In neighborhoods where turnout was lowest — parts of Auburn, the Muckleshoot reservation, and the UW area — median incomes are $51,000-$65,000 a year.

The King County Elections office notices the trend regarding high income neighborhoods most elections. Their theory is that in high income areas residents have time to vote, own homes and have lived there longer, and know about neighborhood issues.

By contrast, they hypothesize, people living in lower income areas face more barriers to voting, may be new to the area, are more likely to carry two jobs, and have less information about elections.

King County Elections said it's trying to reverse this trend. Spokesperson Halei Watkins said the department is giving grants to community groups to get out the vote, particularly among lower income and other disenfranchised populations.

Highest turnout precincts (all above 64 percent) + household median income by zip code

  • Seward Park between S. Alaska St and S. Ferdinand St -- $62,504
  • Magnolia off Montavista Place W. -- $85,171
  • Madrona Beach and Madrona Park -- $71,600
  • Big Leaf, Adair and Twinberry in Redmond -- $123,548
  • Madison Park between E Prospect St and Hillside Dr -- $110,051
  • First Hill between Terry Ave and 9th Ave -- $68,750
  • Denny Blaine area of Madison Park -- $110,051
  • Phinney Ridge off of NW 65th St and 3rd Ave -- $91,740

Lowest turnout precincts (all below 10 percent) + household median income by zip code

  • University of Washington and nearby housing -- $56,015
  • Muckleshoot Reservation -- $65,296
  • Auburn's Meredith neighborhood -- $51,086
  • Federal Way north of Saghalie Park -- $75,824
  • Federal Way off Pacific Highway and S. 272nd -- $53,023
  • Auburn near Dystrak and Brannan Park -- $81,211
  • Seattle's City Hall Park -- $37,610

King County, where turnout total was 35 percent, has an $83,571 median household income.

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