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King County Elections proposes locations for 43 ballot drop boxes  

Summary

Director of Elections Julie Wise has proposed locations for 43 ballot drop boxes in a plan to improve voter access across King County. The proposed locations will be considered by the King County Council in the coming weeks. Under the proposed plan 91.5% of King County residents will live within 3 miles of a ballot drop box.

Story

In a plan to improve voter access and convenience, Director of Elections Julie Wise proposed 43 locations for ballot drop boxes to the King County Council.

“My job is to remove barriers to voting and these new boxes expand access and convenience to King County voters,” said Julie Wise, King County Elections’ Director. “I am grateful to the King County Council for their continued support on this issue and am looking forward to working with them to reach a final list of ballot drop off locations that will best serve our residents.”

The King County Council approved funding for the ballot drop boxes earlier this year and required the Department of Elections to submit a proposed plan, that included a review of all King County and Seattle Public Libraries, by April 30, 2016.

“Adding additional secure drop boxes increases the opportunity for voters to express their voice and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the County Council to take swift action on this proposal,” said Vice Council Chair Reagan Dunn.

Elections staff assessed more than 100 potential drop off locations. Criteria for evaluation included: alignment with department and county goals, operational effectiveness, general accessibility, and continuity of service.

“Today’s action puts us another step closer to ensuring that everyone’s voice in our region is heard,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “By carefully considering the location of each new ballot box, we will strengthen democracy across King County.”

Over the coming weeks, the Council will consider the recommended locations. A public hearing is scheduled in the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee for Tuesday, April 26. Simultaneously, the Department of Elections will continue working with the library systems and other property owners to finalize details.

“The King County Library system (KCLS) is excited to partner with King County Elections to make voting easier throughout the county,” said KCLS Director Gary Wasdin. “Libraries are well known and frequently visited community centers throughout the county, making them ideal locations for ballot boxes.”

Some of the highlights of the proposed plan include:

  • Of the 43 locations deemed feasible for 2016, 24 of them are located at public libraries.
  • There are 26 locations in areas that score highest on key equity indicators.
  • There are 6 locations in unincorporated King County.
  • Box locations are proposed for a variety of geographically-isolated communities including Vashon Island, SE King County and East King County.
  • Locations are also proposed for several culturally distinct communities, including the Chinatown/International District and the Muckleshoot Reservation.
  • The vast majority of King County residents (91.5% of residents) live within 3 miles of a proposed location.

All locations are contingent on approval by the King County Council and on final agreement with property owners.

The plan proposes a two-phase installation of the new boxes with 29 available for the August 2 primary election and 14 more boxes available for the November 8 general election for a total of 43.

Relevant links

Quotes

My job is to remove barriers to voting and these new boxes expand access and convenience to King County voters. I am grateful to the King County Council for their continued support on this issue and am looking forward to working with them to reach a final list of ballot drop-off locations.

Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections

Adding additional secure drop boxes increases the opportunity for voters to express their voice and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the County Council to take swift action on this proposal.

Reagan Dunn, King County Councilmember

Today’s action puts us another step closer to ensuring that everyone’s voice in our region is heard. By carefully considering the location of each new ballot box, we will strengthen democracy across King County.”

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

The King County Library system (KCLS) is excited to partner with King County Elections to make voting easier throughout the county. Libraries are well known and frequently visited community centers throughout the county, making them ideal locations for ballot boxes.

Gary Wasdin, King County Library System Director

For more information

Kendall Hodson,
206-263-9706
email

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