King County is the largest jurisdiction in the United States to conduct all elections by mail. The county has over 1.4 million registered voters, a number that continues to grow each month. It is the 13th-most populated county in the country and home to one third of Washington’s voters.
Led by Julie Wise, King County Elections is staffed by approximately 70 dedicated full-time employees who have a strong sense of pride and commitment to the work they perform. Working with the Executive and Council, Elections has implemented more than 300 reforms since 2004. We have an ongoing commitment to establish open and transparent processes.
King County Elections conducts accurate, secure and accessible elections, providing an important opportunity for county voters to participate in their government. The countywide vote-by-mail system allows us to provide outstanding service to residents, including the opportunity for public observation. Visitors are welcome to tour the 360-degree observation loop during business hours.
King County Elections is a well-respected leader within the elections community for its programs, outreach and education, accessible voting advocacy and technology innovations. Voters can confirm their registration and track their ballots’ progress online. We also provide online candidate filing, with more than 90 percent of candidates now filing on the Web.
King County produces all voting materials in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. The county also employs a full-time translation staff to assist voters.
To be the leader in providing inclusive elections.
We conduct accessible, secure, and accurate elections.
Continue to test and implement a customized approach to engaging voters and support citizens in exercising their democratic rights.
Risk Strategy & Accountability
Follow-up on audit recommendations, including pro-actively assessing and managing risk.
Culture of Teamwork
Define and build a respectful work environment based on professionalism and collaboration.
We bring honesty and integrity to everything we do. We are unshakable in our ethics and do the right thing no matter what.
We believe that democracy works best when all voices are heard. We proactively work to remove barriers to ensure all voters can meaningfully participate in our elections.
King County Elections: A Timeline
Voters broke turnout records in King County in both the March Presidential Primary and the November General election at 56% and 87% respectively.
King County Elections won awards for the best get-out-the-vote campaign and the best voter registration campaign from the Reed Awards and the Pollies, an awards program of the American Association of Political Consultants.
King County Elections held the largest election that the county has ever seen amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. Countless precautions were taken and KCE headquarters was retrofitted to reduce the spread of COVID among staff and our voters.
The partnership with the Seattle Seahawks expands to include a Vote Center location at CenturyLink Field, in addition to five other locations at event-center style venues to allow ample space for social distancing among the voters who need in-person assistance.
King County Elections partners with the Seattle Foundation to fund its first two-year grant cycle for the Voter Education Fund, building in more stability for organizations who serve historically excluded communities and empower voters through voter education efforts.
Election officials implement sweeping electoral reform legislation passed in 2018. Changes include same-day voter registration, automatic registration for those with Enhanced IDs, and pre-registration for 16 and 17-year olds.
King County and all other county election offices in Washington move to VoteWA, the Secretary of State’s brand-new voter registration system.
King County Elections hosts six Vote Center locations across the county to serve voters and expand opportunities for voters to get registered and receive assistance in the eight days leading up to the election.
King County Elections partners with the Seattle Seahawks and CenturyLink Field to engage and educate voters across the Puget Sound.
King County Elections provides prepaid postage on ballot return envelopes.
King County Elections wins the 2018 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties. The department is recognized for its efforts to increase voter turnout by providing pre-paid postage on returned ballots, expanding ballot drop boxes, and for working with community partners to reach out to voters in limited-English speaking communities.
King County Elections wins the Election Center’s Democracy Award for the department’s 2017 media campaign, “Why Vote.” The campaign features two powerful videos, the “Multiplier Effect,” an animated spot designed to illustrate the importance of voting, and “The Struggle,” a more somber depiction of the hard-fought battle for voting rights in this country. The campaign also wins three Pollie Awards from the American Association of Political Consultants.
King County Elections tests prepaid postage in two special elections.
The Voter Education Fund launches after a successful pilot to engage communities who speak a language other than English.
King County Elections replaces its tabulation system with a new state-of-the-art program. The new system consists of user-friendly accessible voting units, high-speed scanners and an improved system to correct ballots with irregularities.
King County Elections adds 12 more permanent ballot drop boxes. About 94% of voters live within 3 miles of a drop box.
King County Elections launches My Voter Information application that allows voters to see their current registration information, the candidates and measures on their ballot, and to be able to track their ballot at four different stages.
New interactive maps show voter registration and turnout based on demographics.
For the first time King County Elections receives and processes more than 1 million ballots in the November general election. More than half of those ballots are submitted through ballot drop boxes.
To improve access and make voting more convenient, King County Elections increases the number of drop boxes to 43 permanent locations. About 91% of voters lived within 3 miles of a drop box.
King County Elections and the Seattle Foundation launched a pilot program to engage limited-English speaking voters.
Voting materials are made available in two new languages: Korean and Spanish.
During the 2015 primary election, the Secretary of State's office completes a mandated five-year procedural review of King County Elections to ensure compliance with 77 state statutes, 63 state rules and three pieces of federal legislation.
Julie Wise is elected as Director of King County Elections.
King County Elections pilots three temporary ballot drop-off vans.
Voting materials made available in Vietnamese.
First election year that Washington state becomes entirely vote-by-mail.
Online ballot marking program is available.
Elections launches our online mail ballot tracker, allowing voters to track their ballot’s progress online, verifying its location at three different points.
Sherril Huff becomes the first elected Director of King County Elections.King County moves to voting entirely by mail.
King County Elections pilots 8 ballot drop boxes for the Primary and General Elections in preparation for the move to vote by mail.
King County citizens vote to make the elections director an elected position. Elections director was previously an appointed position.
Last year that polling sites are used.
Online candidate filing is available.
King County Elections established the Disability Advisory Committee to provide feedback, input about new voting equipment, and how to best reach their community. As a result, input from a community advisory committee became Washington State law and a requirement of every county.
The National Association for County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks awards King County Elections the “Best Practice Award” for mail ballot processing, specifically the significant efforts to improve ballot count accuracy and implement nationally recognized quality control standards, such as Lean Six Sigma goals.
King County is the first county in the state to offer an online guide allowing voters to verify their registration and create a customized, address-specific voters pamphlet with candidate races and measures from the convenience of their personal computer.
Voting materials made available in Chinese.