Election Day is here: Washington residents to decide key races, initiatives

SEATTLE -- Three contested U.S. House races are on a crowded Washington state ballot that includes four ballot measures, a U.S. Senate seat and more than 100 legislative contests.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and voters have a deadline of 8 p.m. Tuesday to have their ballot postmarked or placed in a drop box.

In competitive races, results are often not known for days as ballots continue to arrive throughout the week and counties post daily updates.

As of 10 a.m., officials say more than half of all registered voters in Washington state still need to mail in or drop off their ballots by the 8 p.m. Election Day voting deadline on Tuesday.

The Washington Secretary of State's office reports that 47.6 percent of the nearly 4.3 million voters have been returned as of 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Columbia County in southeastern Washington state leads in early-bird voters, with 66.3 percent of ballots already received, while Seattle's King County barely beat the statewide average with its tally at 48.8 percent.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and voters still have time today to have their ballot postmarked or placed in a secure drop box.

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    Of the state's 10 congressional seats on the ballot, three are competitive GOP-held seats: the open seat in the 8th Congressional District that spans far eastern Seattle suburbs across the Cascade Mountains; eastern Washington's 5th District, where Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, has held the seat for 14 years; and the 3rd District in southwest Washington, where incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was first elected in 2010.