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People walk into the Cowlitz County Administration building on Monday. 

After hovering at pathetically low levels as election day approached, voter turnout in Cowlitz County closed with a rush early this week and ended above average, Cowlitz County election officials Wednesday.

Auditor Carolyn Fundingsland said turnout was “dismal” until the county received a rush of ballots Monday and Tuesday, and balloting will end up approaching 42%.

“This is a great turnout,” she said Wednesday. “We were hoping ... voters were taking time to study the measures and would return their ballots, and that appears to be what’s happening.”

The average voter turnout in the last three odd-year elections was 36%. In 2011, the turnout was an out-of-the-ordinary 52%.

Fundingsland said she speculates that issues often drive voter turnout, but that’s not always the case. She said there appeared to be a lot of interest in this year’s election after a “crazy” filing week in May.

The high volume of late ballots will take the elections office several days to process, Fundingsland said.

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