Washington voters rush to ballot boxes over first weekend of voting
Ballots just showed up in mailboxes across the Puget Sound region and already, King County Elections is reporting a large turnout.
On Sunday night, King County Elections tweeted that it had already received 60,000 ballots via drop boxes in less than five days. That compares to 10,659 ballots from drop boxes in the first five days during the 2016 election. The elections office corrected that number Monday morning. Previously, it reported 16,000, but that was actually the turnout from the August Presidential Primary.
It’s not clear if the increase speaks to voters sending in ballots early or if it indicates high voter turnout.
On Saturday, county elections said it heard drop boxes were rapidly filling up, explaining that two-person crews empty each box at least once per day. The higher traffic boxes would be emptied twice.
Those busiest ballot boxes are at the Ballard Library, Crossroads in Bellevue, Redmond City Hall, and boxes at Elections headquarters.
The drop boxes themselves each weigh 1,000 pounds, are made of 1/2 inch steel, and are bolted to the concrete.
King County Elections is working to not only address ballot boxes that fill up quickly, but any other issues. On Friday, there were reports that the drop box at the Shoreline Library was blocked. Crews moved the box down 200 feet to the lower parking lot off Northeast 175th Street, and arranged it so voters didn’t even need to get out of the car.
On Saturday, it appeared someone tossed cardboard with feces on it inside a dropbox at the West Seattle Junction, according to the West Seattle Blog. The election office was notified and teams responded to clean up the box and retrieve the ballots. KC Elections later tweeted that the “ballots are fine, box is good to go. Still watch your steps as the team didn’t have materials with them to clean up the sidewalk – also, it’s a good night to thank an election worker!”
King County mailed out ballots on Wednesday, Oct. 14. If you haven’t received a ballot in the mail by Monday, Oct. 19, you can call officials at 206-296-8683. If you’re in Snohomish County and haven’t received your ballot by Wednesday, you can call 425-388-3444. You can also visit votewa.gov to request a replacement ballot.
Experts with the Washington National Guard will work on Election Night to monitor for cybersecurity threats, Secretary of State Kim Wyman told The Seattle Times. Additionally, King County Elections has said there will be security officers monitoring ballot drop boxes during the voting period. On Election Day and the Monday before, King County Elections says all drop boxes will be staffed.
It’s not too late to register to vote. You can register online through Oct. 26 and in person until Election Day.