County Council approves plan to increase access to voters
StoryA greater number of locations will now be available to voters in King County to drop off their ballots without a stamp. The Metropolitan King County Council approved a plan to increase ballot drop-off boxes throughout the County.
“Voters want more drop boxes, and King County is delivering,” said Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski, the co-sponsor of the motion. “Our goal is to increase convenience and lower barriers to voting. This new plan is a big step forward in improving access.”
“Additional secure ballot drop boxes means more opportunity for voters to express their voice,” said Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, co-sponsor of the motion.
With the transition to all-mail voting, the Council has been reviewing options to increase access to voters who were unable to mail their ballots and were not near the limited number of ballot drop-off locations.
“We must make voting easy and accessible to all. Expanding our ballot drop boxes does just that for many voters throughout our region. I’m optimistic that today’s action will encourage more individuals to participate in the democratic process,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott.
“Providing secure and accessible elections is a fundamental responsibility of county government and I am glad there will be more ballot drop boxes all over South King County,” said Budget Chair Dave Upthegrove. “I worked hard to make sure that these drop boxes will best serve our diverse communities and look forward to seeing them installed during the coming months.”
The Council adopted a motion requesting the Director of Elections to present a plan looking at opportunities to increase the number of drop boxes available to voters in all nine Council Districts. Elections compiled a list of over 100 sites to consider as drop box locations including public libraries, current ballot drop-off locations, suggestions from local jurisdictions, community partners, the voting public, the King County Council and the King County Executive’s Office.
The adopted plan will have Elections install 33 drop boxes at new drop box sites and 7 drop boxes to replace those at existing drop box sites and extend the useful life of 3 drop boxes at current drop box locations.
The plan includes drop boxes at 24 public libraries and 3 in geographically isolated communities on Vashon Island, Southeast King County and East King County.
19 new drop box locations will be available for the August 2016 Primary Election, with 14 new drop box locations in place for the November 2016 General Election.