The Metropolitan King County Council on Monday unanimous approved the placement of 43 new ballot drop box locations throughout the county, including several locations in and around Renton, including the Highlands and Fairwood.
For the 2015 general election in November, only 10 drop boxes were available to voters.
The legislation, designed to increase voting access throughout King County, was cosponsored by Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn.
“These additional secure ballot drop boxes means voters have greater opportunities to express their voice and participate in the democratic process,” Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, who represents the Renton Highlands on the Council, said in a press release.
“I appreciate the leadership approach the King County Council has taken in expanding voting access,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “I look forward to the new ballot drop box installation in the Renton Highlands.”
Partnering with the King County Department of Elections, the Council reviewed options to increase access to voters unable to mail their ballots since the transition to all-mail voting. The Council requested the Director of Elections to plan and prepare an increased number of drop boxes available to voters in all nine Council Districts.
“I’m excited to be moving forward with expanding access and services to make it easier for the voters of King County to exercise their right to vote,” said Julie Wise Director of King County Elections. ”I’m grateful for the County Council’s support and partnership in expanding access to democracy.”
More than 100 sites were considered, with suggestions from local jurisdictions, community partners, the voting public, the King County Council and the King County Executive’s Office. Plans for a drop box site in the Renton Highlands and at the Fairwood Library are now in place. The final location for the Highlands will be announced and installed before the general election this November.
Thirty-three drop boxes will be installed at new drop box sites and 7 drop boxes will replace and extend the useful life of 3 existing drop boxes at current drop box locations. Twenty-four of the drop boxes will be installed at public libraries and three are focused on providing access for geographically isolated communities on Vashon Island, Southeast King County and East King County.
In total, 19 new drop box locations will be available for the August 2016 Primary Election, with 14 new drop box locations in place for the November 2016 General Election.