You might wonder: what does the Elections department do all year? What does it do when there isn’t a General Election? Our 66 employees work year-round on a variety of things. Here are just some of the projects and tasks we take on:
Elections: Washington state holds up to four elections per year. In February, any of King County’s 191 jurisdictions can choose to hold a special election. Special elections are for ballot measures, such as a parks and recreation bond. They do not have candidate races. On February 14, Maple Valley and the Shoreline School District are holding a special election, impacting about 62,000 registered voters. In April, there is another opportunity for jurisdictions to hold a second special election.
Primary elections occur in August. General Elections, as you probably already know, are held each November. This year’s General Election is for local races, and there are several big ones on the ballot, including races for Seattle Mayor and King County Executive.
Voter registration: Throughout the year we add new voter registrations, clear up voter registration issues and cancel the registrations of deceased voters or voters who have moved out of the county. Over the last year, King County added 88,769 new voters. And we canceled the registration of about 58,000 voters.
About 8,500 of canceled registrations belonged to deceased voters. We check the newspaper obituaries each day to see who has died, and cross reference their name, date of birth and other important information with our voter registration database. We also confirm deaths through information shared with us from other government agencies or from the family of a deceased voter.
Candidate filing: Those seeking public office must file a Declaration of Candidacy with the Elections department or with the Secretary of State, depending on the office. There will be about 315 offices up for election in 2017. Candidates must also meet the qualifications for the office at the time of filing and be registered to vote in the district they are seeking to represent. Our staff processes candidate filings for every candidate running for office in King County, verifying their Declaration of Candidacy and keeping them updated on filing deadlines.
Process improvements: Throughout the year our teams measure the impact of new programs or projects. And on an ongoing basis, we look at ways to make process improvements. We evaluate the efficiency of our processes and determine if there are things we can be doing better. For example, this year we’re replacing our elections equipment with a newer system that can better meet our needs.