We’re proud to share that we recently won several awards, three for our voter access programs and two for videos we created last year. These were part of our “Why Vote” campaign, developed from a collaborative partnership with Mammoth, a local marketing agency. Together we worked to create a compelling public affairs media campaign to inspire registered voters in King County to vote.
First things first, we received three awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for the great way we’re improving voter access for residents here in King County. NACo’s annual Achievement Awards recognize programs that are innovative and enhance services for residents.
We won the 2018 Achievement Award from NACo in two different categories. We will be formally recognized for these awards at the 2018 Annual Conference held in July:
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.
So when we apply this logic to Legislative District No. 43, Representative Position No. 2 with 3 candidates the following becomes the ballot order:
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.