King County voters return ballots, shatter records

November 6, 2012

Cathy Gulezian, of Maple Valley (left), watches sons Brady, 2, and Dylan, 4, place ballots for her and husband Ken in a ballot drop box attended by King County Elections workers Michele Phelps and Jon Gentry at Issaquah City Hall. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 7 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

The ballot drop box outside Issaquah City Hall transformed into a nucleus of activity as Election Day stretched into night, and voters raced to deposit ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline.

King County Elections staffers, dressed in aprons the same shade as traffic cones, directed voters to the secure box. The elections office opened the box last month and, as the ballot deadline approached and after post offices closed, more and more ballot-toting voters arrived.

“Unlike during tax season, the post office does not stay open longer hours for voting,” said Lynne Miller, a King County Elections spokeswoman.

Staffers plan to use atomic clocks to determine the precise 8 p.m. deadline at ballot drop box sites countywide. If a line forms for a drop box, voters in line at 8 p.m., can still submit ballots.

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King County to include 520,000 ballots in initial tally

November 6, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

King County Elections officials said the initial tally released at about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday should include at least 520,000 ballots.

In the all-mail election, voters can return ballots to designated drop boxes by 8 p.m. The elections office opened a drop box at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

Otherwise, ballots must receive a Nov. 6 postmark.

The initial release from King County Elections is the only update for Tuesday.

The elections office plans to release the next round of results by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and then on subsequent weekdays until the election is certified Nov. 27. Voters can resolve ballot signature issues until Nov. 26.

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King County Elections opens accessible voting centers

November 6, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 6, 2012

King County Elections opened additional accessible voting centers to enable voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent ballot.

Officials said voting by mail is the easiest and most accessible choice for many people, but some voters have difficulty filling out mail ballots. The accessible voting centers provide voters the opportunity to vote on touchscreen accessible voting units. The units also offer specialized equipment such as audio and large and high-contrast text options.

The closest accessible voting center to Issaquah is at Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. N.E. Other locations include Green River Community College, North Seattle Community College and Seattle Union Station, plus the elections office in Renton.

The centers open at 7 a.m. and remain open until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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Pragmatism defines Issaquah, Eastside voters

October 30, 2012

Local voters could choose a Democrat for the White House, a Republican for the Governor’s Mansion and split legislative seats between the parties.

Experts said voters in Issaquah and the Eastside prefer a brand of politics anchored in pragmatism, rather than party. The effort to appeal to moderate voters is intense as candidates scrounge for votes in the last days before Election Day.

“Democrats and Republicans both get elected there. I think of it as a pragmatic, rather than ideological, sort of politics, which is what Washington state used to be known for,” independent Seattle pollster Stuart Elway said. “I think the state as a whole has gotten more partisan, as the country has, and the party lines seem to have gotten harder.”

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Some voters receive two ballots due to registration changes

October 30, 2012

King County Elections officials said as many as 10,000 voters received two ballots due to recent changes in voter information and registration.

Some voters received two ballots for the Nov. 6 election because they changed their information not long before the elections office mailed ballots.

Officials said affected voters should receive a suspended ballot and a ballot with their updated information.

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King County Elections launches mobile tools

October 30, 2012

King County Elections rolled out tools for mobile devices, including a countdown clock, to help voters find the nearest ballot box and see how much time they have to return ballots.

Find the mobile tools at https://electionsdata.kingcounty.gov. The website is tailored for display on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The portal includes a ballot drop box map and results, in addition to the election countdown clock. Users can also link to the full King County Elections website to create a customized voters’ pamphlet.

Election Day is Nov. 6, and voters must postmark or return ballots to drop boxes by 8 p.m.

Strong turnout predicted as ballots reach voters

October 23, 2012

King County Elections mailed more than 1.16 million ballots to voters Oct. 17, as all-mail voting started in federal, state and local contests.

The election marks the first presidential contest since King County started conducting all-mail elections and since Washington transitioned to a vote-by-mail state.

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Local celebrities offer election information

October 23, 2012

King County Elections turned to a lineup of boldface names — Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian, mystery writer J.A. Jance and sports announcer Kevin Calabro — to share important tips for voters as the Election Day ballot deadline approaches.

Adrian, Jance and Calabro joined a regional voter education campaign featuring radio, TV and online ads to educate residents about the voting process. See the spots at the elections office website, www.kingcounty.gov/elections/news/psa/2012.

Sponsored by elections departments from King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and the Office of the Secretary of State, the ads remind voters to sign return ballot envelopes and get ballots back on time.

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Some voters receive two ballots due to registration changes

October 23, 2012

NEW — 10:45 a.m. Oct. 23, 2012

King County Elections officials said as many as 10,000 voters could receive two ballots due to recent changes in their voter registration and voter information in the weeks before the elections office mailed ballots.

Officials said affected voters should receive a ballot that is suspended — but not in time to prevent it from being mailed — and a replacement ballot with their current information. The updates in registration and information occurred too close to the mailing date to interrupt the printing and mailing process.

The elections office mailed ballots to more than 1.16 million King County voters Oct. 17.

If a voter receives two ballots, he or she should vote the ballot in the envelope marked “replacement ballot.” The replacement is accompanied by a printed explanation and instructions.

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Local celebrities join voter education campaign

October 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 19, 2012

King County Elections turned to a lineup of boldface names — Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian, mystery writer J.A. Jance and sports announcer Kevin Calabro — to share important tips for voters as the Election Day ballot deadline approaches.

Adrian, Jance and Calabro joined a regional voter education campaign featuring radio, TV and online ads to educate residents about the voting process.

Local elections officials started the voter education campaign before the August primary. The initial round of spots featured renowned chef Tom Douglas, travel guru Rick Steves and Seattle Storm players. The celebrities involved in the campaign agreed to donate time for the effort.

“Everyone can be a voting champion,” Adrian said in a statement. “Don’t wait til the last second. Go for the gold by following the directions and getting your ballot back early.”

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