King County Elections added 11 new ballot drop boxes this year in time for the Aug. 1 primary election, for a total of 54 drop boxes. About 94 percent of county residents now live within 3 miles of a drop box.
Despite the increase in drop boxes, slightly more people chose to mail their ballots during the primary. About 52 percent of ballots were sent through the mail, compared to 48 percent that were brought to a drop box, according to a King County Elections website posting.
Elections officials said they don’t exactly know why fewer voters used a drop box. Perhaps the Aug. 1 election date, when schools are closed and many families go on vacation, resulted in more voters mailing their ballots ahead of time. Stats show that drop boxes are typically used by last-minute voters. On average, 70 percent of ballots returned to drop boxes are deposited on Election Day or on the day before.
Overall, drop box usage is increasing because of the availability of more drop boxes. About 36 percent of returned ballots were brought to a drop box during the August 2016 primary when King County Elections opened 19 additional drop boxes. By the 2016 general election, King County Elections added another 14 ballot drop boxes and usage soared. A majority of returned ballots (51.4 percent) were returned to drop boxes.
As for which drop boxes had the most returns, the one at the Ballard Branch Library continues to lead the way. Kent’s Regional Justice Center box ranked 20th.
Here’s a look at the top 20 drop boxes with the most primary ballot returns. Although none of our newest drop boxes cracked the top 20, the Magnolia Park drop box was close, coming at 22nd with 4,406 ballot returns.
1) Ballard Branch Library: 15,278
2) Redmond City Hall: 9,828
3) King County Administration Building: 9,038
4) Crossroads Shopping Center (Bellevue): 8,500
5) King County Elections Building: 7,798
6) City of Burien – Town Square Park: 7,451
7) Lake City Library: 7,193
8) Federal Way City Hall: 6,690
9) Seattle Central College – Broadway-Edison Building: 6,568
10) High Point Library: 6,541
11) UW – Schmitz Hall: 5,883
12) Broadview Library: 5,677
13) Shoreline Library: 5,585
14) Green Lake Community Center: 5, 534
15) Kirkland City Hall: 5,241
16) Sammamish City Hall: 5,202
17) Lake Forest Park City Hall: 4,809
18) Issaquah City Hall: 4,638
19) Bellevue Regional Library: 4,565
20) Regional Justice Center (Kent): 4,551