Take the Ballots Back

By United Way of King County, on October 29, 2021 | In Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Fighting Homelessness, Racial Equity

How often have you complained about Seattle’s homeless crisis, its inadequate services, and its growing inequality gap? How many times have you struggled to put food on the table or keep the lights on? And how often have elected officials seemed aloof to your concerns – or only approachable while on the campaign trail?

Want to do something about it? Vote!

Make your voices heard on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4. Vote for the future of the region by electing candidates you believe are best equipped to address the problems affecting King County and the City of Seattle. Vote because doing so is not only a Constitutional right; it is one of the nation’s most effective and enduring methods to bring about change in government and public policy.

With about 1.4 million registered voters, King County has the largest voter electorate in the state. King County Elections in October mailed out nearly 1.4 million ballots to registered voters for the 2021 General election. KCE officials are projecting a 46 percent voter turnout for the 2021 Election. In 2019, about 49 percent of voters turned out for the General Election.

That is why United Way of King County is urging county voters to take the ballots back. Drop your signed and completed ballot at one of more than 70 drop boxes countywide. You can do now, as late as 8 p.m. on Election Day or by mail (no postage required).

This year, several key races may determine the course of local municipalities for years to come. Seattle’s mayoral election is the city’s first since last year’s nationwide summer uprisings following the murder of George Floyd. The protests ushered in overdue but unfinished dialogue about systemic racism, policing and allocation of services to underserved communities.

For local voters, the deciding whom to vote for might be arduous, but the voting process itself is a synch. The county is the largest jurisdiction in the United States to conduct all elections by mail. That’s a far cry from some jurisdictions in Georgia and Texas, where reduced voter precincts and electronic machine issues created voting lines that lasted up to 11 hours.

Washington state has also not seen the types of voter suppression tactics known elsewhere. According to Project Vote, students at Virginia Tech seeking to register for the 2008 General Election were told that registering in Virginia could change their scholarship or tax dependency status.

In Michigan, Project Vote said, police at two voting precincts in 2008 were accused of scanning long lines looking for voters with outstanding warrants. And the Washington, D.C.-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said that leading up to the 2020 General Election it received more than 100,000 calls to its Election Protection hotline regarding voter intimidation.

Many of today’s voter intimidation tactics, particularly those in the South, have been aimed at majority Black or Latino areas, harkening back to violent voter intimidation and suppression tactics against African Americans during Jim Crow.

Voters during Jim Crow withstood those tactics to exercise their Constitutional rights, and they helped spur change that likely would not have been possible without civic engagement. Today’s voters should do the same, understanding that all votes count, and that civic engagement is one of the key pillars of a democratic society.

You’ve got an opportunity to play a major role in the future of the City of Seattle and King County. And the voting process is so simple and easy, you’ve got no excuse. During this election cycle, vote for the change you want to see.

Take the ballots back.


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