Mobile Voting is Coming to Voters in King County, WA
All 1.2M registered voters residing within the King Conservation District’s service area are eligible to vote on their phones in the upcoming election
Tusk Philanthropies announced today that King Conservation District (KCD) in Washington State is implementing mobile voting in their upcoming Board of Supervisors election. This marks the 9th election and 5th state to implement a mobile voting solution for an election. This will be the first-time mobile voting is available to all eligible registered voters. Previous pilots in other jurisdictions were limited to overseas and military voters and/or voters with disabilities. For this election, all 1.2M registered voters residing in KCD’s service area are eligible to vote on their mobile phones and other electronic devices using the Democracy Live platform in the upcoming election.
The pilot is a collaboration between KCD, King County Elections, Democracy Live, Tusk Philanthropies, and the National Cybersecurity Center. Eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming election by opting in to vote electronically on their smartphones, laptops or even at their local library. Participating voters will log into the secure Democracy Live portal on their smart devices using their name and date of birth to access and mark their ballot. Once the voter has made all their selections, they will have the opportunity to review their ballot to ensure it was marked correctly. Upon confirming their selections, voters will submit their signature to verify their submission before electronically returning their ballot. Voters will also have the option to print and return their marked ballots via local drop boxes throughout the county, or to mail in their ballot. Ballots will be verified and tabulated by King County Elections.
Voting begins today, January 22 and continues through 8 p.m. on Election Day, February 11.
“The more people vote, the more government reflects the will of the people,” said Bradley Tusk, CEO and Founder of Tusk Philanthropies. “That’s why today’s announcement is so historic: 1.2 million people can now vote securely on their phones. It’s the biggest innovation in democracy in years and we are extremely grateful to King Conservation District and King County Elections for making it happen.”
Democracy Live developed OmniBallot to be a fully accessible, ADA compliant secure balloting portal available to each of the 200 million voters in the U.S. The OmniBallot secure portal has been deployed in over 1,000 elections across the U.S, serving over 15 million voters in hundreds of jurisdictions since 2008.
“We are proud to partner with King Conservation District as they pilot this mobile voting technology,” said Julie Wise, King County Director of Elections. “It will be easier than ever for voters to access their Conservation District ballot and cast their vote. Here at King County Elections, we are always looking for ways to improve access and engage our voters and this election could be a key step in moving toward electronic access and return for voters across the region.”
“Conservation districts are grass-roots, locally-funded organizations that respond to natural resource conditions on a human scale. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in electing the body that oversees our work” said Bea Covington, Executive Director of KCD. “We could not be more excited about this opportunity to engage our voters pro-actively and meaningfully.”
“Security and accessibility are the key reason Democracy Live is excited to participate in this pilot. Outside of Washington State, most overseas and military voters’ email or fax ballots, which may be the least secure method of transmitting critical documents such as ballots,” said Bryan Finney, CEO and Founder of Democracy Live. “Voters with disabilities often cannot vote independently at home because they cannot see, mark or hold the ballot. This pilot is an effort to show how all voters, including voters with disabilities and remote voters can securely access and return their ballots in a more secure and accessible method.”
Eligible voters must reside in KCD’s service area, which includes 34 cities, excluding Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific and Skykomish and all of unincorporated King County. Created by the state legislature, KCD is a non-regulatory state agency that works directly with urban residents, community-based non-profits, farmers and rural landowners to care for the land and natural resources.
To Be Eligible to Vote Using This Solution, An Individual Must Be: 1. A resident of King Conservation District’s service area and 2. registered to vote. KCD’s service area includes all of unincorporated King County and 34 cities, with the exclusion of the Cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific, and Skykomish.
The coalition approach ensures inclusivity and diverse perspectives. Partners in the effort combine expertise in election systems, research, communications, and managing the deployment of successful proofs of concept. The initiative is strictly nonpartisan and is open to engagement with civic innovators, technologists, academics, and philanthropic leaders.
OmniBallot is auditable, transparent, secure and accurate. At the end of the voting process, a paper ballot is downloaded by the elections administrator and printed for tabulation. A voter verified paper ballot is always available for a hand recount if necessary. Mobile voting helps reduce human error, provides faster results and can build trust in institutions. Increasing participation and accessibility in elections can increase civic engagement and voter turnout.
About Tusk Philanthropies
Tusk Philanthropies was created by Bradley Tusk, Founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings & Tusk Ventures, for the purpose of working on reducing hunger throughout the United States by providing greater access to programs like school breakfast and to dramatically increase voter turnout and participation in U.S. elections through mobile voting, beginning with qualified military service members. Mobile voting is a non-partisan initiative designed to not favor any one candidate or party but to expand voting options to increase participation in our electoral process. None of the Tusk entities has a financial interest in DemocracyLive or any other voting technology company.
About King Conservation District
King Conservation District is a special-purpose district created by the Washington State Legislature in 1949 to help Washington residents care for natural resources. A non-regulatory agency, KCD is governed by a Board of five Supervisors, three elected and two appointed by the State Conservation Commission. KCD partners with individuals, organizations, communities, and municipalities to leverage expertise and financial resources in improving natural resource conditions.
About Democracy Live
Founded in 2007, Democracy Live provides voting and voting information technologies to the 200 million eligible voters in the U.S. In partnership with Amazon Web Services, Democracy Live has provided secure cloud voting technologies in over 1,000 elections in the U.S. Selected and funded by the Department of Defense and deployed to voters in over 90 countries, Democracy Live is a leading authority on secure voting technologies. Democracy Live technologies have been approved for funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Elections Assistance Commission to assist voters with disabilities. OmniBallot is the most deployed accessible online balloting platform in the U.S.
About National Cybersecurity Center
The National Cybersecurity Center exists to help secure the world using knowledge, connections and resources to solve global cybersecurity challenges and develop a protected cyber ecosystem. An independent and non-profit think tank based in Colorado Springs, Colo., the NCC provides cybersecurity leadership, services, training and a cybersecurity community for public officials, business executives and the workforce. Discover the NCC at cyber-center.org.
About King County Elections
King County Elections administers accurate, secure, and accessible elections for King County’s nearly 1.2 million voters. A well-respected leader within the elections community, King County Elections is committed to transparent and open elections for all King County voters. Led by Director Julie Wise, the department has played a key role in vital electoral reforms in recent years, including prepaid postage, same-day voter registration, and expanding in-language access for voting materials, while running successful elections on offices ranging from fire district commissioner to President of the United States.