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King County Proposes 30 New Ballot Drop-Off Sites

A ballot drop box in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones
A ballot drop box in Seattle.

It's a big year for elections, and King County officials are working on a plan to make voting more accessible for residents. The plan involves installing 30 more permanent ballot drop off boxes around the county. 

Late last year the King County Council passed legislation to deploy more ballot boxes.  

So elections staff got busy. They looked at more than 100 sites where new ballot boxes could be placed, and they submitted that plan to the council. 

Kendall LeVan Hodson is the chief of staff in the elections department.

She says they had to take many factors into account in proposing the 30 new locations, such as, is it ADA accessible? Is it visible? 

"Can you drive up to the box?" Hodson asks. "Is there parking? Can we establish an end of line, when the voting deadline has passed?"

In addition to those kinds of practical concerns, staff also focused on geographic equity to propose new sites. 

Nate Valderas with the elections office says that means placing ballot boxes in areas that are underserved, or areas with low voter turnout.

"When you look the final map of our proposed locations, I think you'll see that it does skew a little bit toward South Seattle, south King County," Valderas says. "That was an area of focus for us when it comes to voter participation." 

According to the plan, 26 of the new 30 proposed ballot drop boxes are in areas that score highest in places with indicators for assessing equity, including income, ethnic background and English proficiency. 

Other proposed locations include areas King County hasn't served before, such as Vashon Island. 

The plan recommends keeping its 10 permanent ballot boxes where they are and turning its 12 mobile locations into permanent ones in the same area. 

A King County Council committee will take up the proposal the week of April 25.