Benewah County voters turned out in record numbers, for the general election, Nov. 6.
Vote tabulation results show that 5,047 votes were cast in Benewah county. Registered voters in the county totaled 6,163 an increase of 717 voters from 2016.
Just as in 2016, Benewah County overwhelmingly voted for President Trump in 2020. The incumbent president received 3,878 votes. President-elect Joe Biden received 977 votes, in the county, approximately 200 more votes than Hilary Clinton received in 2016.
Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen received 58 votes. Independent candidate Kanye West came in fourth with 28 votes, and outperformed the Constitution Party candidate, two other independents, and multiple write-ins.
Benewah County had two contested local races. Mark Reynolds ousted long-time incumbent Jack Buell by approximately 700 votes. Mr. Reynolds received 2,798 votes. Mr. Buell received 2,085 votes.
The race for Benewah County Sheriff saw votes split three ways. Current BCSO Undersheriff, and now sheriff-elect, Tony Eells won by considerable margin with 2,603 votes. Write-in candidate Tami Holdahl placed second with 1,481 votes. Independent candidate Mike Ingersoll earned 754 votes.
The 2020 election year saw the highest number of voters to have participated in an election since at least 2008. However, it was an average year by percentage, with 82 percent of registered Benewah County voters participating.
An average year for Benewah County was still approximately 20 percent higher than the national average. According to the Washington Post approximately 66.4 percent of registered voters participated nationally.
Of the last four elections, Benewah County’s highest turnout by percent was in 2008 when 85 percent of registered Benewah County voters participated.
This year’s growth in voting is likely due to the use of mail-in voting. The county received approximately 2,400 absentee ballots. According to Election Clerk Lynn Ragan, absentee ballots accounted for approximately 700-800 votes in years past.
Nationwide, more than 100 million ballots were cast prior to polls opening on Election Day according to multiple sources.
Locally, St. Joe City had the highest percent of voter participation with 64 of 71 registered voters participating, or 90 percent. The lowest percent of voter participation was in Plummer where 777 of 1,024 voters participated, or 76 percent.
Since 2008, Santa is the only entity to achieve 100 percent voter participation. That occurred in 2008, when 240 of 240 registered Santa voters participated.