On the Ballot: Moving King County elections to even years

This week the King County Council voted to change how we vote in King County.

Here’s a hint: they want election years to be divisible by two.

King County has approved a charter amendment that would move the generally non-partisan county elections from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years. This would allow them to coincide with bigger elections — like the vote for president or governor.

Voters will decide whether the amendment happens this November.

As Crosscut State Politics Reporter Joseph O’Sullivan explains, this would mean a larger turnout of voters.

In 2021’s county executive race between Dow Constantine and Joe Nguyen, the turnout was roughly 573,000 voters. In contrast, the prosecuting attorney’s election in 2018 had a turnout of 968,000 voters.

But that larger number means a wider diversity of voters as well, and those extra voters usually lean more progressive.

“If you have a younger, less affluent electorate participating in local elections, you'd assume that would open up space for issues that might not be heard as much in a low turnout electorate,” explained Western Washington University Political Science Professor Todd Donovan.

Friday, July 1, 2022