What’s a Special Election?


What’s so special about a “special election?” Why do we have them? Special elections are important local elections that probably impact you more than you’d think. So let’s get down to the basics.

Special elections are for proposed legislation that voters can approve or reject. The legislation is referred to as a ballot measure or sometimes as a “proposition.” Special elections are for ballot measures or propositions and typically do not have candidate races.

During a special election, voters decide on a local budget issue, such as how to pay for a new school, park or fire station.  In February and April, any of King County’s jurisdictions can choose to hold a special election. Only voters who live in the jurisdiction can participate in a local election.

On February 14, Maple Valley and the Shoreline School District are holding a special election, impacting about 64,000 registered voters. There are no special elections being planned in April just yet but check back here for updates.

Unfortunately, special elections have pretty low voter turnout. The February 2016 special election included 13 ballot measures impacting nearly 630,000 voters. Voters from Auburn to Seattle cast their ballots on a variety of school budget issues, such as funding capital projects and upgrading technology. Voter turnout was 29%.