As vote-by-mail and the November general election continue to be a focus of the national conversation, I have been hearing from family, friends, neighbors and voters who are anxious and concerned about the upcoming election. It seems like every day we hear some new assault on our democracy and new claims meant to cause confusion and fear about the security of our elections: The United States Postal Service is being dismantled; ballot drop boxes aren’t secure; international actors will flood our vote-by-mail system with fraudulent ballots.
I understand how important this election is to you. So, there are a few things that I want you to know, but most important — we’ve got this!
We’ve been voting by mail for more than a decade, but most Washingtonians have voted by absentee/mail for several decades. In that time, we’ve forged a strong relationship with USPS, meeting with them regularly to coordinate everything from mail pick up to envelope design. Did you know we closely track your ballot through USPS as it makes it way to you? That’s right, and for the recent Aug. 4 primary election we saw 99.96% of ballots delivered within five days of mailing them.
For the Nov. 3 general election, we will also track your ballot as it makes its way back to us, so we’ll know where each ballot is. What’s more, we have 70-plus secure ballot drop boxes across the county that are emptied at least daily — often more frequently — by dedicated staff with a comprehensive set of security procedures.
We have layers upon layers of both physical and cyber security and a team of state and nationally certified election administrators who work tirelessly year in and year out to conduct accessible, secure and accurate elections. This is my 20th year working elections in King County. I’ve done every single job in this department over the last two decades. I’ve worked polling places and vote-by-mail elections. We’ve got this.
When I say we’ve got this, I mean you too! That’s why I am challenging King County to reach 90% turnout. So, get ready and vote early.
While we do everything we can on our end, here are a couple of things that you can do to ensure that your voice is heard this November. First, make sure that you’re registered to vote and that your registration is up-to-date. There is no need to wait. You can do this today. It takes just a couple of minutes at VoteWA.gov. If you have any questions, you can call us at 206-296-VOTE, email us at email@example.com or visit us online at kingcounty.gov/elections.
Second, we mail out ballots to our nearly 1.4 million registered voters on Oct. 14. If you don’t have it by Oct. 19, you can call us or if you have access to a printer, you can print it right at home. Do not forget to sign your oath, and please note there is no party preference associated with you or your voter registration — vote for whoever you like, just vote and vote early.
You have about 2½ weeks, and there is no reason to wait. Returning your ballot early means delivery times in the mail won’t be an issue for you, you won’t be waiting in line at a drop box on Election Day, your votes will be in the Election Night results, and it gives you ample time to track your ballot and ensure that it was counted or fix any issues that may arise with your signature.
Do not gamble your vote by waiting until 7:59 p.m. on Election Day to get to a drop box. Get it done early. I cannot stress that enough. Then encourage your friends and family to do the same and share that you voted early on social media (tag and follow us @kcelections on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
Our democracy works best when everyone has the opportunity to make their voice heard. This election is going to take all of us — together — making a plan and making it happen. We’ve got this King County. Let’s #hit90 this fall!