Over the last year, voters in King County have surpassed our expectations time and time again when it comes to turnout.
In the August Primary, we projected 43% — you all showed up at 56%. The turnout for the 2016 August Primary was 37%. In the March Presidential Primary, we projected 40% — you all showed up at 56%. The turnout for the 2016 Presidential Primary was 33%. Needless to say, King County voters have been showing up and making their voices heard.
Now, as we turn our attention to the Presidential election this fall, we’ve got a challenge for you – Can we hit 90? 90% turnout means almost 1.3 million ballots returned this fall. That is a lot of votes to count. But never fear – we’ve got this.
We have been hard at work planning for this election. From adding drop boxes to increasing our online tools and resources to building new partnerships with organizations like the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders, we’ve been planning to hear from more of you than ever before.
But we need your help to hit 90 and many of you have asked what you can do to help this election run smoothly. Here are some concrete steps you can take today to make sure that your vote counts and help King County hit 90:
– Make sure you’re registered and that your registration is up to date. If you’ve moved or changed your name recently, your registration likely needs to be updated. You can go online to VoteWA.gov today to get this done. The last day to make changes online is October 26 (a full 12 days AFTER ballots are initially mailed) but there is no reason to wait. Get it done today.
– Make a plan to vote EARLY. It sounds simple, right? You get your ballot, you fill it out, you return it to us, done. But SO MANY PEOPLE wait until Election Day to cast their ballot and too often we have voters pulling up to drop boxes at 8:02 pm, 8:05 pm, 8:15 pm because they hit a red light or got stuck at work or just didn’t think about it until it was too late. Don’t let that be you.
Ballots will be mailed on October 14th. You should get yours by Monday, October 19th. Set an alert on your phone or calendar for October 20th to remind you to call us if you haven’t gotten your ballot yet.
Are you going to return it by mail? You don’t need a stamp, we’ve got postage covered. It’s also first-class so those shorter delivery windows are guaranteed. Just get it in the mail as soon as possible. It never hurts to walk it into a post office if you’re unsure of mail pick up times in your area.
Or are you going to return it by drop box? There are currently 70 and soon we’ll be adding a few more. (Don’t worry, we’ll tell you where when it’s all final!) There’s a drop box within a 3-mile radius of 96% of registered voters in King County so chances are good that there’s one near you. Again, don’t wait. Drop boxes close at 8 pm sharp on Election Night (not 8 pm + 1 second, when the clock strikes 8, we close ‘em up). Drop boxes can get busier and busier as Election Day approaches. Don’t wait in line, drop it on anytime during the TWO WEEKS you’ll have your ballot.
– Updating your signature never hurts. Your signature is how we know that you’re you and each and every signature is compared to what we have on file. Pro-tip: Take a peak at your drivers’ license if you have a WA State ID. We pull signatures from DOL when you update or register online. If that signature doesn’t reflect your current signature, simply fill out a new paper registration form and send it back to us. Again, we must have it in hand by October 26th but there’s no reason to wait.
– Plan to track your ballot. We provide an online ballot tracker so you can see where your ballot is at in the process or if there was an issue with your signature. A missing signature or one that doesn’t match what we have on file means that your ballot won’t be counted. While there is time to fix this after Election Day, it’s best (again) to get it done early and rest easy on Election Day knowing that your ballot was counted. You can find the ballot tracker in our My Voter Information tool and it will show you there if your ballot has been counted or if there’s a signature issue. To fix a signature issue, you fill out a simple form and can return it by email, mail, fax, or in person.
– Be THAT friend. You know the one we’re talking about, right? That one who won’t stop talking about voting. The one who bugs their friends and family constantly to make sure they’re registered, that they have a plan to vote. Most of us here at Elections are THAT friend.
We can only reach 90% turnout if everyone has the information they need to cast their vote and we need your help in spreading good, accurate information, particularly when there’s so much misinformation out there. So, follow us on social media (we’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @kcelections) and share the information you find there. Check in with your network to make sure they have what they need. Bug them incessantly to get their ballot in early. Every conversation helps to make sure every vote counts.
– If you have a question, ask. We are here to help. We know it can be confusing sometimes. We know that elections are different from state to state and that it’s hard to find accurate, current information out there. We know that there’s a lot of claims being made about voting and a lot of people claim to be experts. But if you aren’t sure about something or you need help, please ask us. We’re here for you. We want you to vote and we want your vote to count. You can reach us at 206-296-VOTE (8683) or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will help you figure it out and do everything we can (within the law, of course) to make voting as accessible to you as possible.
Check back here over the coming months for more detailed information as we get closer to the election. We’ll be sharing voting tips, common mistakes to avoid, explainers on how to do things like access your ballot online, and more! There’s even a #hit90 toolkit with suggested social media posts and graphics you can download and use to spread the word. Let’s get to work, King County, so we can #hit90 this November.