Oct. 14, 2008
King County ready for historic election; ballots in the mail Wednesday
The countdown is on to the Nov. 4 General Election and King County Elections is ready to process record returns in what is expected to be the highest turnout ever in the state’s largest county.
"We have conducted 21 successful elections and implemented more than 300 reforms since 2005, and we are ready for the November election," said Elections Director Sherril Huff. “While many of the improvements will go unnoticed, voters should remain confident in the open, transparent and accessible environment that has been created as a result.”
Mail ballots will be mailed Wednesday to King County voters who request an absentee ballot. A record 742,000 ballots will have been mailed this week including nearly 19,000 sent to voters living out of state and out of country earlier this month. Officials anticipate as much as 69 percent of the ballots cast in this election will come from ballots cast through the mail, continuing the trend that has paved the way for countywide voting by mail in 2009.
Huff advises people who vote by mail to follow a few guidelines when voting:
1. Remember, your signature makes your vote count. As required by law, the signature on every absentee envelope is verified against the voter's registration record. If your signature has changed over the years, please update your records with King County Elections.
2. Follow instructions for voting your ballot carefully and never sign your ballot. View an educational video at http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/voting/absentee/howtoabsentee.aspx.
3. If you get a letter from your county elections office, respond immediately. You may have forgotten to sign the return envelope or your signature does not match your voter registration record. Elections officials go to great lengths to contact voters, but rely on a timely response.
4. To be counted, mail ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 4, Election Day. Ballots without postage can be returned to a 24-hour ballot drop box or polling place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
New this year, voters will notice improved ballot instructions using illustrations instead of text. The new format is easy to understand and is just one of more than 300 reforms King County has made to improve voting and the administration of elections. Though most of the reforms will go unnoticed by voters, the changes address problems and issues prominent in the close gubernatorial election in 2004. Read the complete list of reforms online .
New: 24-hour ballot drop boxes
Included in every mail ballot packet is a list of 10 secured ballot drop boxes. These no-cost drop boxes are available throughout the county. In addition a box at King County Elections office in Renton, six of these boxes are located at King County Library locations in Bellevue, Black Diamond, Des Moines, Fall City, Lake Forest Park, and Algona-Pacific. The three Seattle locations are the King County Administration Building and the Delridge and University Neighborhood Service Centers.
All drop boxes will be open 24 hours each day with daily pickups by elections staff, beginning on Oct. 17 and will close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 4, Election Day. For more information, visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/voting/ballotdropboxes.aspx.
Extended hours Saturday, Oct. 18 to accommodate voters
To vote in the General Election, individuals not currently registered to vote in Washington still have until Monday, Oct. 20 to register to vote in-person at the King County Elections office in Renton.
To accommodate last minute, in-person voter registrations, King County Elections will have Saturday office hours on Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. King County Elections will also stay open later hours on Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to assist voters.
In-person accessible voting
In-person accessible voting is available for all voters starting Oct. 15 through Nov. 3 at King County Elections' Renton office weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Tuesday, Nov. 4, Election Day, in-person accessible voting is available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Accessible voting units provide an audio and touch-screen ballot in English and Chinese. With large font, high contrast and a key pad device, voting is made easy for voters with disabilities. All voters are welcome to vote using an accessible voting unit.
Important election information and resources
- Voters who do not receive their mail ballot by Friday, Oct. 24 are urged to call the King County voter hotline at 206-296-VOTE (8683).
· Several useful resources for voters, including sample ballots, a results schedule and the Local Voters' Pamphlet in English and Chinese and a sample ballot, are available on the county's Web site at http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/elections/200811.aspx or by calling 206-296-VOTE (8683).
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Editor's note: View an educational video at