Study finds more ballot boxes increases certain groups of voters to turn out

EVERETT, Wash.  -- A statewide push to get more people to vote by Election Day comes in the form of boxes. The legislature passed a measure recently requiring more than 200 ballot boxes to be installed across the state.

They have a presence, they have a purpose to serve as a convenient way to vote.

“There is one super close to where I live so it’s easier,” Seattle resident Patrick Graham said.

In King County, about 12 new ballot boxes have gone up this year, some of them in underserved areas like South King County to more remote places like Fall City.

“They have a pretty dramatic effect on turnout in both primaries and off years,” Professor of Economics at UW Tacoma said.

Experts who studied King County go from 10 ballot boxes to 43 say the likelihood of voters turning up went up dramatically but only for older, wealthier and white voters

“Younger voters, lower income, lower education voters those almost had no effect,” Baird said.

“I can speak for myself and say yeah when I was voting I had to think about it, I don’t know if my voice will actually make a difference,” voter Josiah Chen said.

Snohomish County Auditor’s Office says the jury is out on whether their new boxes will increase voters. The county recently installed more than 4 new boxes including one at Everett Mall just west of Sears.

By law counties are required to place new boxes in every city that has more than 15,000 people and communities with a post office.

“We will be required to put a box in Index and out in Sultan and Gold Bar,” Garth Fell with Snohomish County Auditor’s Office said.

In Pierce County, there are up to 5 new ballot boxes in places like Buckley and Lakewood.

But how do you decide where to exactly put those ballot boxes and not favor a political party?

“We’ve reached out to all the legislators in our district for suggestions they are the ones who passed the legislation,” Fell said.

As for King County, their first priority is libraries and places that are easy to get to.

“Anything that makes it easier for people to do their civic duty is probably a good idea,” Shoreline resident Pete Suchon said.

You have until 8 p.m. on election night to get your votes into any of the ballots boxes. And if you do not have one near you can always mail it in.