King County courts new voters with more dropboxes | KUOW News and Information

King County courts new voters with more dropboxes

Jul 14, 2016

August primary ballots are in the mail. King County officials say they hope to increase participation by installing dozens of new ballot dropboxes for this election.


TRANSCRIPT

Amanda Clark is the president of the League of Women Voters for Seattle-King County. She said Washington state’s vote-by-mail approach was supposed to increase voter turnout. But that hasn’t always been the case.

So now King County is installing more dropboxes to let people deliver their ballots for free right up through election day. Clark calls having 43 dropboxes for the general election “a huge step forward.”

Laura Flores Cantrell co-chaired Seattle’s immigrant voting task force. She joined county officials to unveil the new ballot dropbox outside the library in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood. 

King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski cast his vote at the dropbox on Wednesday. He said the dropboxes are especially intended to help voters in geographically isolated or under-served areas. 

Dembowski: “We have the poorest census tract in the city of Seattle right here in Lake City, so this is emblematic and symbolic of kind of why we’ve chosen many of the communities where the ballot dropboxes are.”

Cantrell said her group found that putting dropboxes in these neighborhoods will reduce barriers for new voters who live there.

Cantrell: “It also recommended libraries -- that already serve as natural community gathering places in our neighborhoods -- be used as placement sites for the dropboxes. And it is exciting to see that over half of the dropboxes will be placed at libraries like this one.”

There are 29 dropboxes ready to go for the August 2 primary, up from ten in years past. They’re intended to make it easier for voters in geographically isolated or under-served areas. 

King County elections director Julie Wise said every voter should have their primary ballot in the next week.

There’s a lot to consider: U.S. Congress, governor, lieutenant governor.

Wise: “And many, many state House and Senate races, just to name a few. It’s a really long ballot, so get started now!”

In the primary, Seattle voters will see an initiative to build an elevated park along the waterfront, using part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. They’ll also decide whether to nearly double the existing levy for affordable housing.