2012 is a big election year for Washington State - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

2012 is a big election year for Washington State

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- With an off year election, the Benton County  Auditor is expecting about a 45 percent turnout, but Brenda Chilton says things will look much different next year.

"We are anticipating to have huge turnout next year, in excess of probably 90 percent.," says Chilton.  The presidential race is one big reason but Washington State is also going through many changes as well.

This is the first year since 1984 we are not have a presidential primary.  "Because of the financial situation in the state and it having a ten million dollar price tag, the legislature decided to instead use the caucus system," says Secretary of State Sam Reed.

The parties chose March 3rd for the Republicans and April 15th for Democrats.

Reed's is just one position not up for re-election since he plans on retiring.  "2012 is going to be an interesting election year in Washington. We have an open seat for Governor.  We have an open seat for Secretary of State, open seat for Attorney General, open seat for State Auditor, and two open congressional seats. So that's very unusual in our state," says Reed.

Congressman Doc Hastings and Senator Maria Cantwell are both up for re-election.  Local voters said they're looking forward to voting.

"I think it's time for change, I would like to see someone new,"says Chuck Lopez of West Richland.

"When things get tough, people start to take more of an interest in what their representatives, including their local representatives ..At all levels of government, I think they start to take more of an interest," says Chilton.

Washington state is also getting  re-districted and adding an additional Congressional seat due to population growth.  That means an additional spot for voters to fill.  District 1 is losing Jay Inslee who is running against Attorney General Rob McKenna for Governor.

98 House Seats are up for re-election as well as 24 Senate seats in the state legislature.