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Don’t lick your presidential primary ballot, Washington officials say

Washington officials urged voters to use a wet sponge or cloth to seal their ballots for the presidential primary next week, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

SEATTLE — The Washington Secretary of State’s Office urged voters to seal their ballots using water amid a coronavirus outbreak in the state.

The office said alternative methods of sealing ballots, such as using a wet sponge or cloth instead of licking, was recommended by the Washington State Department of Health.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 10 people have died, and 39 people have tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington state, all in King and Snohomish counties. Concern over the outbreak led schools to close this week to disinfect and prompted officials to call for good community health practices, including frequent hand washing, staying home while ill and avoiding close contact with someone who is sick.

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Washington’s presidential primary is Tuesday, March 10. Stamp-free ballots must be returned in the mail or to a drop box by 8 p.m. on election day.

As of Tuesday evening, the Secretary of State’s Office reported 21.6% turnout.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman has said she hopes for boosted turnout this year due to an earlier primary. Turnout in the 2016 presidential primary was 34.78%.

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