We’re highlighting the great work our translators do helping make our elections and services accessible to every member of the community. Here we sit down for a brief Q&A with Signe Chan, our Chinese language translator.
What is your background and what brought you to working in local government at King County?
My family immigrated to the United States when I was a teenager. Often times I have to interpret for my parents and elderly friends who speak limited English.
Helping people is one of my specialties; I started helping others when I was in grade school by tutoring my neighbor’s kid who was in kindergarten. I taught “English as a Second Language” and “Become a citizen” classes as a volunteer. I also worked as a Chinese translator and secretary in an over 500 member nonprofit organization.
I also attended several naturalization examinations as an interpreter. I was excited and encourage to help people become citizens of the United States, to enjoy the freedom and benefits that this country provides for ALL Americans. I shared their joy when they passed the examination.
Voting is not only a privilege and responsibility for a citizen, but it also helps shape and define our country, our state and our counties. When I was asked to work as a Chinese translator in 2010, I gladly accepted the offer. Continue reading →
More than 4,000 King County citizens registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), a number almost 10 times the daily average! A total 3,454 people registered online when NVRD kicked off on September 25. Another 574 people mailed in paper registration forms, but we also saw a second surge of 837 forms delivered on October 1.
Today is National Voter Registration Day! NVRD is a non-partisan, unofficial national holiday, on which thousands of community groups and volunteers across the political spectrum register people to vote. It’s designed to create an annual moment when the entire nation focuses on helping citizens to exercise their most basic right—the right to vote.
Of course we are focused on voter registration all year long, but it’s great to have a day when everyone spends a few minutes thinking about it and spreading the word. Happy National Voter Registration Day!
Voter turnout exceeded our projections during the August 2018 Primary Election, which marked the first time voters did not need a stamp to mail in their ballots. King County Elections projected a 40 percent turnout rate, based on historical data and slightly adjusted to account for potential voter behavior changes due to prepaid postage. Actual turnout was 43.4 percent, the highest rate of voter participation since the 2004 primary election!
We’re excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2018 Voter Education Fund. King County Elections and Seattle Foundation are awarding $460,000 in grants to increase voter engagement in underserved communities.
Organizations encouraged to apply include, but are not limited to, those serving communities of color, limited-English speaking communities, people with disabilities, low-income youth, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and people who have been convicted of a felony.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case about Ohio’s voter registration rules. Ohio has one of the most aggressive voter purge systems in the country. The state strikes voters from its rolls if they miss voting in two elections or fail to return a form confirming their mailing address. At issue is whether Ohio’s system violates the National Voting Rights Act, which says states can’t purge registered voters for failing to vote.
In light of this case, we wanted to explain our process for inactivating a voter’s registration. When any correspondence we send to a voter (ballot, letters, ect.) is returned to us as undeliverable, the voter’s registration becomes “inactive.” We also inactivate a voter’s registration if we receive information from the US Postal Service that the voter moved out of King County. Voters who are inactive will receive a confirmation card sent to every address we have on file for them to see if we can get their most current information.
Although it wasn’t a presidential election year, 2017 continued to tell the story of elections in King County and across the nation. From the Alabama senate race, to the Seattle mayoral primary, election news dominated the headlines in 2017.
As we close out the year, we looked back at our top five election stories in King County. Our most viewed blog post of 2017 showed how Seattle neighborhoods voted for mayor during the highly-contested primary. The results of our first pre-paid postage test was another story that was widely read and shared online. Check out the five most popular stories of 2017.
Recall elections don’t happen very often in King County, but when they do, they provide an opportunity for voters to decide whether or not to remove an elected official from office. Recall elections must occur before the end of the elected official’s term. Continue reading →
More than 53 percent of all returned ballots were brought to a drop box during the General Election. That’s the highest usage of our drop boxes yet! About 295,000 ballots were deposited in a drop box, versus 257,000 ballots mailed through the U.S. Postal Service. Voter turnout in King County was 43 percent.
Every election, voters call and email us with a number of questions. Why did I receive a ballot for the previous resident of my home? What do I do if I forgot to put my ballot in the security envelope? But each election fields a few questions specific to the races on that year’s ballot. Here are some of the most frequent questions we heard this election.
1. I live in Seattle. Why aren’t any of the city’s candidates on my ballot?
If you live in Seattle and don’t see the city’s candidates on your ballot, it means you live in unincorporated King County. So, although you have a Seattle mailing address, you don’t live within the city limits, which means you don’t vote on city candidates or measures. There are 158,000 registered voters currently residing in unincorporated King County. These voters have mailing addresses in a specific city, such as Seattle or Renton, but don’t actually live within those city’s limits. For example, there are 9,594 voters living in White Center who have a Seattle address. Seattle candidates or measures do not appear on the voters’ ballots because their community falls outside Seattle’s boundaries.