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King County Elections Nationally Recognized as Leaders in Election Transparency and Efficiency

Summary

King County Elections (KCE) was honored by the Election Center, the National Association of Election Officials, with two awards in the organization’s annual Professional Practice Paper Awards for 2022.

Story

RENTON, WA – King County Elections (KCE) was honored by the Election Center, the National Association of Election Officials, in the organization’s annual Professional Practice Paper Awards for 2022. The Election Center’s Professional Practices Program is a celebration of best practices from small, medium, and large jurisdictions around the country and the U.S. Territories. This year, KCE joins officials from California, Ohio, Missouri, and Colorado in being recognized.

KCE’s close partnership with both major political parties to double the number of trained observers in the election facility earned the Guardian Award for exemplifying the Election Center’s Principles and Standards of Conduct. KCE provides observers with robust training and in-the-field guidance, providing greater transparency in elections.

“Here at King County Elections, we believe in radical transparency. That means sharing our processes, explaining the details, and welcoming observers across the political spectrum. We have observers who come to us completely skeptical of the system, usually because of rumors and rhetoric. When they get to see how ballots are processed up-close and meet their neighbors who do this work every day, these same skeptical observers become our greatest advocates,” said Julie Wise, King County Director of Elections. “When you see firsthand the care and attention that this team puts into every ballot, every voter, and every registration, it’s hard to come away anything less than impressed. I am so proud to have this team’s commitment to our community and to transparency recognized by our colleagues around the country.”

For the second year in a row, KCE earned the Eagles Award for innovative use of technology. After being honored last year for utilizing a custom-built app suite to manage and track ballot collection from each of our ballot drop box locations, this year KCE was recognized for permanently shifting many essential elements of election administration to virtual processes. When the onslaught of COVID-19 in 2020 necessitated moving many vital functions to a virtual space, KCE successfully met the challenge. As the world has changed, so to have KCE processes. By creatively utilizing a variety of remote work tools and platforms, our team has increased efficiency, improved communication, and helped our staff be even better prepared for each election.

Professional Practice Papers are shared by the Election Center with all members of the association, and awards are only given to programs that can be replicated in other jurisdictions.

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Led by Director Julie Wise, King County Elections conducts accessible, secure, and accurate elections for nearly 1.4 million voters. Home to one-third of Washington State’s voters, King County was the largest vote-by-mail jurisdiction in the world for many years prior to more widespread adoption in 2020. With core values of accuracy, equity, integrity, service, teamwork, and transparency, the team at KCE is committed to ensuring all King County voters can get registered, cast their ballot, and make their voices heard.


Quotes

Here at King County Elections, we believe in radical transparency. That means sharing our processes, explaining the details, and welcoming observers across the political spectrum. We have observers who come to us completely skeptical of the system, usually because of rumors and rhetoric. When they get to see how ballots are processed up-close and meet their neighbors who do this work every day, these same skeptical observers become our greatest advocates.

When you see firsthand the care and attention that this team puts into every ballot, every voter, and every registration, it’s hard to come away anything less than impressed. I am so proud to have this team’s commitment to our community and to transparency recognized by our colleagues around the country.

 

Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections

Media contact

Halei Watkins
206-477-4111
hawatkins@kingcounty.gov

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