Counties across Washington State forced to add more ballot boxes for elections
KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash. - Voting by mail is an option for people living in Washington, but the state wants to add more ballot drop boxes in every county.
The new law requires one drop box per 15,000 registered voters and one anywhere that has a post office.
Kittitas County currently has three drop boxes and put aside around $20,000 in its budget to make sure they can afford adding more.
County auditor Jerry Pettit says this doesn't make sense for a state that allows people to mail in their ballots.
“It's a struggle,” he said. “There's almost 200 additional boxes throughout the state that have to be installed in order to comply.”
The county currently must add six to eight more boxes to towns like Vantage, that has 78 registered voters.
Pettit said the county is considering filing a claim against the state to help them fund the project.
“It's going to increase the cost of elections,” Pettit said. “It's going to increase the cost of county government, but it also increases the cost of these other jurisdictions as well as we manage these additional drop boxes.”
Over in Yakima County, auditor Charles Ross said Toppenish is the only city left on their list.
Ross said they bought around 20 locally made temporary boxes to comply with the law, but it lets them stay flexible if the legislature decides to change its mind.
“If the legislature were to all of a sudden decide to do pre-paid postage and require that we all pay for the postage on ballots that come back, then we wouldn't need these boxes anymore,” he said.
The temp drop boxes were added to 11 cities from Mabton to Naches and were used in the latest election.
He said the more than $11,000 total saved the county thousands by not putting in permanent ones.
Pettit said they hope to have all the boxes installed and ready by this summer.
He also said the county is considering suing the state if their claim for reimbursement is denied.
More info on ballot boxes throughout Yakima County.