Candidate drawing for ballot order

People often ask how we determine the order of candidates on the ballot for each office. They’re never listed in a predictable way, like alphabetically, but are listed at random. We actually do this on purpose.

To determine the ballot order, we use a random number generator to create a sequence based on the office with the highest number of candidates. Once we have that sequence, the logic is applied to all candidate races. This random process to determine the order of candidates on the ballot for each office is useful to give everyone a fair chance and ensure there are no biases influencing the decision.

This year 11 candidates filed for Legislative District No. 34 State Senator and the random number generator created a sequence of 2, 3, 1, 11, 8, 7, 10, 6, 5, 4, 9. That sequence was then applied to offices with 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 candidates and so on as shown in the table below.

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So when we apply this logic to Legislative District No. 43, Representative Position No. 2 with 3 candidates the following becomes the ballot order:

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We only do this process for offices filed with King County. For offices filed with the state, or with another county, they hold their own drawing. We then provide the final candidate order with these other counties and the Secretary of State’s office, as they provide their final list to us.

Once the candidates are in ballot order, we post the official list on the Who has filed page of our website.

Educating the community about restoring felon voting rights

It’s important for voters to make their voice heard. Here in Washington State we take extra steps to ensure that all people who can vote, know they have the right to do so. This extends to felon voting rights, and helping each person understand their right to vote and need to register.

Recently, a woman in Texas made headlines for voting in a general election while still on probation. She had broken a state law that does not allow convicted felons to vote until their entire sentence has been served. Unaware of these voting restrictions under Texas law, she was sentenced to five years.

This tragic story is a reminder of the importance of voter education. In Washington State, a voter’s right is automatically restored when they are no longer under the authority of the Department of Corrections (DOC). This also means someone convicted of a felony in another state or federal court has the right to vote restored to them when they are no longer incarcerated for that felony. These individuals simply need to re-register to vote, which can be done online, by mail or in person. If this woman had been here in Washington, she would have been informed that her right to vote has been reinstated upon release from the DOC, and encouraged to re-register.

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Candidates interested in participating in 2018 elections get ready!

Do you ever wonder what it takes to run for office? We have 94 open positions this year.

With the candidate filing period starting next week, May 14-18, here are the things anyone interested in running for office should do:

This year candidates can also file to be a Precinct Committee Officer. There are additional resources for PCO candidates:

candidate filing 1We encourage anyone interested in running for office to subscribe to our candidate notifications for alerts about campaign filing, deadlines, etc.

Candidate filing week begins May 14 and ends May 18. During that week, we’ll update the list of who has filed to run for each office. Make sure to check back with us soon!

It’s official! Prepaid postage is here!

Monday was a big day for us. We are thrilled to announce that prepaid postage within King County was officially approved by the King County Council.

It will impact the upcoming primary and general elections, starting with our August primary election, and is one more way we are removing barriers for our voters!

“Prepaid postage along with our ballot drop boxes makes it easy for everyone to exercise their civic right to vote,” says Elections Director Julie Wise.

We look forward to how prepaid postage will encourage higher ballot return rates and allow all communities to become further engaged in the elections process.

Thank you to the community, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and the King County Council for your support!

For more information, read our official press release here.

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Voter Education Fund kickoff was a success!

It was a long day of training and information but the recipients of our Voters Education Fund program were happy to participate!

Thank you to every organization who came to our kickoff today and who is doing great things to help expand voter education and outreach to underserved communities throughout King County!

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Helpful video to find voting data by precincts

Are you interested in finding past election results and other information according to precinct levels? We’ve put together a short tutorial video that goes over all the available information within the King county interactive precinct level election results data. It explains how to use the filter tool to drill down into more specific data, and how to export this information for later use.

The instructional video is posted on our Past elections webpage and will be linked to from the current election results as well.

Press conference held to announce prepaid postage request

On Wednesday, March 28, we held a press conference to share our proposal for prepaid postage with local media. The press conference featured our director Julie Wise, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember Rod Dembowski.

“When I was elected, one of my commitments was to remove barriers to voting,” Julie said. “As we increase access with prepaid postage and ballot drop boxes, we’re beginning to see a real impact.”

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Pictured: Left to right, Councilmember Rod Dembowski, Elections Director Julie Wise, King County Executive Dow Constantine.

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Applications now open for 2018 Voter Education Fund

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.

2017 VEF Grantees
2017 Voter Education Fund grantees with staff from King County Elections and Seattle Foundation.

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How your Voter Registration becomes “Inactive”

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.

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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.

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Top 5 Election Stories of 2017

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.

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