Five things you should know about Ballot Drop Boxes

Last year we increased the number of ballot drop boxes in King County from 10 to 43, providing unprecedented convenience and access to voters. About 91 percent of King County residents now live within 3 miles of a drop box. That said we sometimes get questions about how drop boxes work: Where are they located? How long are they open? We’ve answered all of those curious questions, and more. Here are five things you should know about ballot drop boxes:


  1. Each drop box weighs more than a 1,000 lbs! Drop boxes are bolted to the ground and secured by key. Each one also has a security seal. If a drop box shows signs that someone has tampered with it, those ballots are set aside to go to the King County Canvassing Board. The board is a public entity that conducts a formal assessment of the election.
  1. Locations for drop boxes are not random. Each site is thoroughly vetted and researched. The locations for the new drop boxes added last year were selected based on specific conditions. The criteria included geographically isolated or culturally distinct communities as well as areas that have lower than average voter registration rates. Overall, 100 locations were evaluated before choosing the 33 new sites. You can read more about our drop box expansion plan here.


  1. Members of our staff monitor the drop boxes, collect ballots and close the drop boxes on Election Day. They also assist voters and answer questions.
  1. Ballot drop boxes open the day after ballots are mailed. They remain open 24 hours per day and close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. Most ballots brought to drop boxes are actually returned the last two days of an election, proving to be a convenient option for last-minute voters. During the 2016 General Election, 90,921 ballots were returned to drop boxes on November 7 and 180,156 were returned on Election Day.
  1. King County voters really like their neighborhood drop boxes. Half of the ballots returned during the 2016 General Election were brought to a drop box. That’s more than 500,000 ballots!