Letters to the Editor

Elections answers

Mr. Marquis's letter provides a good opportunity for us communicate with your readers about the successes achieved by King County Elections and where voters can go to get the accurate and timely information they may need. A great way to get a complete overview of how elections are conducted is to watch the "How to vote by mail" video that is available on our Web site at www.kingcounty.gov/elections

There is also a host of other useful information available there. Voters are also welcome and encouraged to visit us at our offices while an election is underway to see first hand how ballots are processed and the many securities that are in place to ensure that elections are conducted properly.

Given the magnitude of processing ballots for a county of our size, a key focus for King County Elections has been accountability and encouraging voter trust in the elections process. While there is no industry standard by which to benchmark success in the administration of elections, King County has been working toward achieving six sigma quality standards since 2005 by benchmarking discrepancies between the number of mail ballots received and the number of mail ballots tabulated. In simple terms, six sigma quality standards means that no more than 3.4 defects occur per million opportunities. With only two discrepancies recorded from a total of 1,193,209 ballots received over the past year, Elections met the six sigma quality standard in 2009, our first year conducting all elections by mail. We recently certified the February 2010 special election with zero discrepancies.

Washington's Office of the Secretary of State recently conducted an Elections Procedures Review of King County Elections operations. In their preliminary report, they noted, "King County has the most extensive quality control and ballot accountability procedures of any county in the state. These procedures consistently ensure the accuracy of elections and voter registration in an extremely complex environment."

Finally, we can be contacted directly for answers to any Elections related questions by calling (206) 296-VOTE or by e-mailing us at elections@kingcounty.gov

Voting by mail has been the choice of most King County voters for a number of years. Now that all of King County votes by mail, elections are conducted more efficiently and the accountability has improved. That is why it was recommended by an independent Elections Task Force.

Kim van Ekstrom

Chief Communications Officer

King County Elections

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