During this contentious U.S. general election season, King County ballot boxes saw record numbers of returns piling in. Some boxes needed to be emptied multiple times a day in mid-October as voters mobilized to cast their ballots. In fact, data from King County Elections says that Oct. 19 saw 2020’s highest daily count, with 100,868 ballots dropped off at all ballot boxes across the county. In comparison, six-digit-number collections were seen only after the 2018 general Election Day. As of this writing on Election Day 2020, Nov. 3, King County Elections has received 1,082,012 ballots from 1,409,017 registered King County voters.
Our local story is not unique; voters turned up in record-breaking numbers around the country well before Election Day, taking advantage of early voting and mail-in ballot opportunities. While Real Change’s publication schedule required us to finish our weekly paper Tuesday afternoon, before more data came in, we have parsed through King County Elections data to understand how election engagement might be changing over time, specifically within the last 20 years. While King County’s population has grown, so have voter registrations and turnout numbers. However, registrations have not increased in line with the population and not all regions in King County have reached parity.
Consult these charts to draw your own conclusions about election engagement for the first score of years in the 21st century.
Kamna Shastri is a staff reporter covering narrative and investigative stories for Real Change. She has a background in community journalism. Contact her at [email protected]. Twitter: @KShastri2
Read more of the Nov. 4-10, 2020 issue.