King County Elections Director Sherill Huff acknowledged Friday that she approved use of a temporary, cardboard ballot box for a recent “voting party.” The box was used during a party, attended by the governor, mayor and political candidates and hosted by “The Stranger.” Huff says the agency supplied the box, which was not handled by elections staffers, after “The Stranger” asked for it. She says it is an effort to encourage more people to get out to vote. The boxes, as shown by Huff, include protective straps. Huff added that the ballots were delivered properly to her agency and believes it could be a tool to build turnout in the future. “We’re encouraging people to vote, people to have their friends and neighbors vote and this was a part of that effort, that I believed would be a start for that,” said Huff. “It turned out it was a wonderful event.”
Eli Sanders, a Pulitzer Prize winner and associate editor of “The Stranger,” says “a lot of people brought their ballots and put them in a box that we watched, and then we took the ballots and put them in a drop box on 4th Avenue.”
“I love it. It’s a great way to get people involved in a democracy,” he said.
King County says it has received 66,000 ballots for the November election and expected turnout around 48%.
The Secretary of State’s office, however, says it’s uneasy about ballot boxes not staffed by election workers. David Ammons, spokesperson for the Secretary of State, says the voting party “is not illegal, but not recommended.” And as far as the boxes are concerned, “that’s not illegal either.”