Concerns over mail-in voting could be driving ballot drop box numbers in Washington

The debate over mail-in voting is far from quieting down before Election Day.

While millions of early votes are being counted, there have been some concerns raised in states like North Carolina where voters reported delayed absentee ballots. In Texas, there was controversy over the number of ballot drop boxes.

Voters in Washington State are feeling confident in the mail-in voting system that started here in 2011.

“I’m a flight attendant and so I’m not often here and able to go and stand in line,” said Amy Swanson, a King County voter. “The mail-in ballot has always been the easiest way for me to voice my opinion.”

“I’m 86 so I’ve been voting for 60-something years,” said Dan Fowler. “I don’t see why there’s a problem in this state. It could be in other states.”

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The King County Director of Elections Julie Wise said when looking at the data there isn’t widespread voter fraud.

In 2018, King County Elections identified 17 voters who potentially voted twice out of 1.2 million voters, according to Wise.

“I think King County, because of the actions we’ve taken over the last decade, is potentially the most well-suited, well-positioned jurisdiction in the country to administer an election accurately, securely and quickly,” said Wise.

King County now has 73 ballot drop boxes, and 96 percent of registered voters have access to one within a three mile-radius of their home.

Wise said the boxes weigh more than a thousand pounds and are cemented into the ground with eight inch bolts. The slot is only a quarter inch, so that it can only accept one or two ballots at a time. The inside is fire retardant, and it’s designed to have rain or water roll right off.

“In fact, one time we had a school bus accidentally strike one of our ballot drop boxes. The box was fine. The contents in it were fine. The bus was not. These are secure steel tanks,” said Wise.

Election personnel are the only ones who have access to the boxes that are emptied out Monday through Saturday.

“These are all things we should be doing nationally to remove those barriers, keeping elections secure, but saying we want all voices to be heard because you matter,” said Wise.

This election is expected to break records with a 90 percent voter turnout. Election officials said to get your ballots in as soon as you can.