What’s with the stub on my ballot?

General Election Ballot Stub

Ever wondered why there’s that stub at the top of your ballot that you’re supposed to remove? You’re not alone. That’s probably the #1 question we get on tours of King County Elections.

The answer is pretty simple, but important. The ballot stub is used by our printing vendor to make sure that you get all of your correct materials. The bar code on it makes sure that you get a ballot with the correct races, in the correct language, and that it’s mailed with the correct inserts and envelopes. It’s the tool we use for tracking everything before ballots are mailed.

However, when it comes time to tabulate ballots, the ballot stub can’t go through our scanners. So, if voters don’t remove them, our staff have to do it when they are opening ballot envelopes – which is time consuming and costly.

Want to know some other interesting ballot stub facts?

  • We actually changed the look of the stub on the August Primary ballots to reflect our new branding and to hopefully encourage more people to remember to remove them.
  • It worked! We weigh all the stubs we have to remove each election. For the May Presidential Primary we had 25.8 lbs of ballot stubs. For the August 2nd Election we had just 7.4 lbs (from nearly 60,000 more ballots).
  • We’ve heard anecdotally that some people collect their ballot stubs as a memento of all of the elections they’ve voted in. Do you? If so, take a picture and tweet it at us @kcelections and #ballotstubcollection!

So, the moral of the story is – (a) vote, and (b) remove your ballot stub!

One thought on “What’s with the stub on my ballot?

  1. ArcticChiller October 5, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    So, why does my Colorado ballot ask me to: “Please return stub with ballot”?

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