King County will have more drop boxes in time for the August and November elections, rather than the 10 it’s had in the past.
The number of ballot drop boxes in King County will be increased before the August election and quadrupled in time for the November election.
The Metropolitan King County Council’s budget committee Wednesday approved a $351,000 proposal by newly elected Elections Director Julie Wise to boost the number of drop boxes from 10 to 40.
Wise promised to increase the number of drop boxes by 30 during her race against Zack Hudgins last fall.
Hudgins said other counties had been doing a better job of accommodating people not voting by mail. The criticism was a knock against Wise, who had worked in King County Elections for 15 years and had become deputy director.
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The new drop-box sites haven’t been identified; officials are assessing various sites, including public libraries, according to a news release.
“We should make it as easy as possible to exercise the right to vote, and this is a good step in that direction,” Wise said in the release.
The council’s budget committee also approved $356,000 to expand voting outreach to speakers of languages other than English.
Beginning this year, elections materials will be translated into Spanish and Korean in addition to Chinese and Vietnamese, and officials will begin working with community-based organizations to increase voter awareness and registration among Spanish and Korean speakers, according to the release.
“Democracy requires participation,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in the release. “We will help ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in our region.”
For recent elections, there have been just two drop-box sites in Seattle — one in Ballard and one downtown.
King County Elections also has 12 ballot-drop vans with limited hours and days of operation.