First election using online voting is in King County

SEATTLE-- Voters in King County are taking part in the first election in the country to allow online voting.

It’s part of a pilot program for the King Conservation District to expand voting access to their election by offering a mobile ballot option, via mobile phone or touch screen device.

The King Conservation District, which promotes sustainable uses of natural resources, is currently holding its board elections.

Officials say they saw the online option as a way to promote conservation and to increase accessibility and civic engagement.

Bea Covington, Executive Director for the King Conservation District, stresses this is not about tabulating votes online, but offering online access to ballots.

“We are not actually voting online,” said Covington. “The votes are not being tabulated online. It’s simply logging into a secure portal where a voter can mark a ballot and then that ballot is transmitted to King County Elections…who then prints a ballot which is then tabulated in the same way King County Elections tabulates all ballots.”

According to Covington, the response has been positive.

“By and large, we have had a number of comments from individuals who have talked about how easy it was for them to vote,” she said.

She says so far the turnout for the online access has been good, and together with mail and ballot box options, they expect to exceed previous turnout records.

The effort is a partnership with King County Elections, Democracy Live and Tusk Philanthropies.

For more information on the King Conservation District's election, click here.