The number of ballot drop boxes in King County will be quadrupled now that the County Council’s Budget Committee has approved a proposal by Director of Elections Julie Wise. The additional funding will also increase voter outreach in communities where English is not the primary language.
“We should make it as easy as possible to exercise the right to vote and this is a good step in that direction,” said Julie Wise, King County Election’s Director. “I want to thank both the Executive and County Council for their support in making this happen so quickly.”
King County Elections currently has 10 24-hour, permanent ballot drop boxes and 12 temporary ballot-drop vans with limited hours and days of operation. The planned expansion would include 30 additional permanent drop-box locations.
“Democracy requires participation,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Director Wise and I share a commitment to increasing voter access across King County. Working with the County Council, we will help ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in our region.”
The new drop-box locations are still to be identified and King County Elections is in the process of assessing the feasibility of a variety of options, including public libraries.
The second proposal expands the County’s program for outreach to Limited English Speaking communities. Beginning this year, elections materials will be translated into Spanish and Korean, in addition to the currently provided Chinese and Vietnamese. The Department of Elections will also begin working with community-based organizations to increase awareness and voter registration in those communities.
The two proposals were included in the mid-biennium budget supplemental which passed out of the County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee today. The full Council is expected to vote on a final budget sometime later this month.
A report assessing the feasibility of drop box locations is due to the County Council by the end of April. The first round of drop boxes would be placed mid-summer in time for the primary election in August with remaining boxes to be placed by the presidential election in November.