King County shatters record for early ballots turned in at drop boxes
After a weekend that saw King County residents rushing to ballot boxes, more ballots have continued to flood in, shattering records for the early period of voting.
Before 2020, the previous record for King County ballots turned in at designated boxes over the first five days of the voting period was 16,015. This year, that five day period saw an estimated 164,000 ballots turned in at drop boxes. The county has also received an additional 100,000 ballots by mail.
To account for this increased volume, King County Elections officials are now emptying ballot boxes twice daily, and in some cases, even more than that for higher-trafficked areas. Early on, the busiest ballot boxes have been 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 half-inch steel, and are bolted to the concrete.
Similar trends have developed across other Puget Sound region counties as well. In Thurston County, voter turnout is already at 28%, a mark it traditionally doesn’t reach until roughly a week before Election Day.
Pierce County has seen over 37,000 ballots returned as of Oct. 19, nearly three times what it saw by that same date in 2016. Snohomish County residents have also returned over 41,200 ballots, while Benson County has received over 21,200 ballots.
To ensure that the election process across the state remains secure, 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.