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!
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.
Election Day is approaching and you’re wondering: where’s my ballot? Or you’re not even sure if you’re registered.
We’ve now made it easier than ever to find the information you need. Our new My Voter Information application helps you view your voter registration, track your ballot and even check your voting history.
Voters can see their current voter registration information, as well as the deadlines to update their registered address. And, voters eligible for the current election can see their voter registration details for the election. They can also see the candidates and measures on their ballot with links to the candidates’ statements in the voters’ pamphlet.
During an election, you can track your ballot at four different stages.
When I was running to be your Director of Elections, I attended a candidate forum organized by a Vietnamese-American civic group. I asked the audience of about 100 people to raise their hands if they knew King County Elections translated voting materials into Vietnamese. To my surprise, only one person raised their hand. I knew then that we needed to work harder for a more inclusive voting process.
Allegations of voter fraud have dominated news headlines lately. But are these claims plausible? Last year, King County Elections Director Julie Wise told the Seattle Times that claims of widespread voter fraud were “wrong. Not true. Inaccurate.” Secretary of State Kim Wyman also called them “baseless” and “irresponsible.” And Matthew Masterson, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, defended the 2016 General Election as being “extremely well administered.”
Data from the Brennan Center for Justice validate that assessment. Researchers interviewed elections administrators in 42 jurisdictions, including King County, and found that… “improper noncitizen votes accounted for 0.0001% of the 2016 votes [23.5 million] in those jurisdictions.”
Are you a new U.S. citizen? First, congratulations! We know the path to citizenship can be a long one, so well done. One of the things you can now do as a U.S. citizen is vote. But first, you’ll need to register. There are a number of ways.
In 2011, Washington State shifted to vote by mail. For every election in which you are eligible to vote, we mail you a ballot with measures and candidates specific to your address. While vote by mail has improved voter access for many, not all voting-age residents have a traditional address. In the 2016 King County One Night Count, over 10,000 people, the majority of which are of voting age, were counted as being homeless. These people are staying in many places ranging from encampments to emergency shelters and transitional housing. So how do they get access to voting?
The 2017 Washington State legislative session opened this week, and we wanted to let you know about our priorities for this session. We have five main priorities to make voting as accessible and barrier-free as possible. Ultimately, we believe that improving voting accesses makes government more representative of the public. Here’s a look at our top legislative priorities:
Here’s a question we get from time to time: What happens to your voter registration if you die? Can someone vote as you? Once you die, there’s really nothing mysterious about your voter registration. When we learn a voter has passed away, we simply cancel their registration.
Over the last year we’ve removed more than 8,500 deceased voters from registration rolls. We learn about a voter’s death through a few ways. Each day we check newspaper obituaries to see who has died. We cross reference the name, date of birth, location or any other pertinent information in each obituary with our voter registration database.
Another way to confirm death is through information that is shared with us from other government agencies: The Washington State Department of Health and the Washington Secretary of State’s office, which sends us social security information.
The final way we learn of a voter’s death is through another voter, usually a family member. These notifications typically come in a few days after ballots have been sent out. Over the last year, 600 voters reported the death of another voter.
If a voter you know has passed away, fill out and sign a deceased voter registration cancellation form. If someone accidentally gets canceled, their registration can be reactivated within three years. After three years, canceled registrations become permanent and the voter would have to register again.