On Wednesday, March 28, we held a press conference to share our proposal for prepaid postage with local media. The press conference featured our director Julie Wise, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember Rod Dembowski.
“When I was elected, one of my commitments was to remove barriers to voting,” Julie said. “As we increase access with prepaid postage and ballot drop boxes, we’re beginning to see a real impact.”
We’re excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2018 Voter Education Fund. King County Elections and Seattle Foundation are awarding $460,000 in grants to increase voter engagement in underserved communities.
Organizations encouraged to apply include, but are not limited to, those serving communities of color, limited-English speaking communities, people with disabilities, low-income youth, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and people who have been convicted of a felony.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case about Ohio’s voter registration rules. Ohio has one of the most aggressive voter purge systems in the country. The state strikes voters from its rolls if they miss voting in two elections or fail to return a form confirming their mailing address. At issue is whether Ohio’s system violates the National Voting Rights Act, which says states can’t purge registered voters for failing to vote.
In light of this case, we wanted to explain our process for inactivating a voter’s registration. When any correspondence we send to a voter (ballot, letters, ect.) is returned to us as undeliverable, the voter’s registration becomes “inactive.” We also inactivate a voter’s registration if we receive information from the US Postal Service that the voter moved out of King County. Voters who are inactive will receive a confirmation card sent to every address we have on file for them to see if we can get their most current information.
With the Washington State Legislature convening this coming Monday, January 8 we wanted to share our 2018 legislative priorities. As always, our goal is to make voting as accessible and barrier-free as possible. Here’s a look at what Director Wise will be supporting in Olympia over the next two months:
Although it wasn’t a presidential election year, 2017 continued to tell the story of elections in King County and across the nation. From the Alabama senate race, to the Seattle mayoral primary, election news dominated the headlines in 2017.
As we close out the year, we looked back at our top five election stories in King County. Our most viewed blog post of 2017 showed how Seattle neighborhoods voted for mayor during the highly-contested primary. The results of our first pre-paid postage test was another story that was widely read and shared online. Check out the five most popular stories of 2017.
Recall elections don’t happen very often in King County, but when they do, they provide an opportunity for voters to decide whether or not to remove an elected official from office. Recall elections must occur before the end of the elected official’s term. Continue reading →
More than 53 percent of all returned ballots were brought to a drop box during the General Election. That’s the highest usage of our drop boxes yet! About 295,000 ballots were deposited in a drop box, versus 257,000 ballots mailed through the U.S. Postal Service. Voter turnout in King County was 43 percent.
Every election, voters call and email us with a number of questions. Why did I receive a ballot for the previous resident of my home? What do I do if I forgot to put my ballot in the security envelope? But each election fields a few questions specific to the races on that year’s ballot. Here are some of the most frequent questions we heard this election.
1. I live in Seattle. Why aren’t any of the city’s candidates on my ballot?
If you live in Seattle and don’t see the city’s candidates on your ballot, it means you live in unincorporated King County. So, although you have a Seattle mailing address, you don’t live within the city limits, which means you don’t vote on city candidates or measures. There are 158,000 registered voters currently residing in unincorporated King County. These voters have mailing addresses in a specific city, such as Seattle or Renton, but don’t actually live within those city’s limits. For example, there are 9,594 voters living in White Center who have a Seattle address. Seattle candidates or measures do not appear on the voters’ ballots because their community falls outside Seattle’s boundaries.
Election Day is approaching and you’re wondering: where’s my ballot? Or you’re not even sure if you’re registered.
We’ve now made it easier than ever to find the information you need. Our new My Voter Information application helps you view your voter registration, track your ballot and even check your voting history.
Voters can see their current voter registration information, as well as the deadlines to update their registered address. And, voters eligible for the current election can see their voter registration details for the election. They can also see the candidates and measures on their ballot with links to the candidates’ statements in the voters’ pamphlet.
During an election, you can track your ballot at four different stages.
We make choices every day, from what color shirt to wear to what kind of latte to drink. But when it comes to life’s important choices, many of us let others do the choosing for us. I’m talking about the choices we make by voting. My job as an election administrator is to make democracy work – and democracy works best when everyone has an opportunity to make their voices heard. It’s my job to facilitate that. But, I can’t do it without you.
Not enough of us vote in local elections, which have the biggest impact on our quality of life. Turnout during the 2017 primary was just 34%. That means a third of the voting population decided on measures and determined which candidates would go on the General Election ballot. If you didn’t vote, the choices were made for you.