A record number of Cowlitz County ballots were mailed to voters Thursday, Oct. 15, and elections officials expect more than half of them to be filled out and returned.

The county elections office sent out 55,702 ballots for the Nov. 3 general election, about 1,000 more than it mailed out for the 2008 general election, said County Elections Supervisor Carolyn Myers.

Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 to count.

Myers is forecasting a 56 percent turnout for the so-called “off year” election, which features mostly city council, school board and other local government races.

Two hotly-debated statewide initiatives, an advisory vote on merging Longview and Kelso and a measure to create a city manager form of government in Woodland likely will boost turnout, she said.

Countywide turnout in the last two off-year elections — 2005 and 2007 — was 65 percent and 50 percent, respectively, Myers said.

Ballot boxes throughout the county have been prepared for people to submit ballots if they don’t want to mail them in, Myers said.

Ballot box locations are:

• Longview Civic Center Circle, near the Post Office boxes

• Broadway, driving west toward the Civic Circle

• Kelso, near Post Office boxes or in County Administration Building

• Woodland, on Davidson and Second Street in the city parking lot near the Utility Payment Drop box

• Castle Rock, Cowlitz Street and First Avenue SW near Hattie’s

• Kalama, near the Post Office boxes.

This article was first published Oct. 16.

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