As a state that votes entirely by mail, providing pre-paid postage on ballot return envelopes is a subject that comes up from time to time. So this year, we decided to test pre-paid postage with the February 14 special election in Maple Valley and the Shoreline School District. Voters in both jurisdictions received ballot packets that included a return envelope with the postage already paid.
One of the reasons we tested pre-paid postage was to see if more voters returned their ballots than in previous special elections. And they did! Voter turnout was 37 percent in Maple Valley, and 40 percent in the Shoreline School District. During the previous special election, voter turnout was 32 percent in Maple Valley and 30 percent in Shoreline.
While many factors impact voter turnout, we are excited to see the increased participation. Our team will test pre-paid postage again for an upcoming election to study its overall impact.
Another outcome of pre-paid postage was that more voters chose to mail their ballots than to use one of nine drop boxes open for the election. About 74 percent of ballots were returned through the mail and 26 percent through drop boxes.
The pre-paid postage test cost King County Elections $10,140.
Maple Valley voters rejected a general obligation bond for park and recreation facility improvements. Voters in the Shoreline School District, which includes Lake Forest Park, approved a school construction bond.
Final results of the special election will be certified later today.