Mobile voting will be available to 1.2M Seattle area voters in upcoming King County election

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Mail-in ballots
Washington was a pioneer of mail-in voting. Now officials in the state are testing mobile voting. (King County Elections Photo)

Mobile voting is coming to the Seattle region, thanks in part to two homegrown companies.

A partnership of local government officials, nonprofits, and tech companies will enable 1.2 million registered voters in the King County Conservation District — which contains Seattle — to vote using mobile devices in the upcoming Board of Supervisors election.

The technology is powered by Amazon Web Services, the cloud arm of the Seattle tech giant. The electronic ballot was developed by Seattle-based Democracy Live, a leading provider of mobile voting technologies in the U.S. The organization is funded in part by the federal government and works with both Amazon and Microsoft to deploy its platform.

Here’s how it will work in the Feb. 11 election:

Voters can enter their name and date of birth on the Democracy Live portal using their smartphones. They cast their ballots using Democracy Live’s OmniBallot and submit them electronically. Voting opens up Wednesday and continues through Feb. 11.

The mobile voting pilot is the result of a partnership between the King County Conservation District, King County Elections, Democracy Live, Tusk Philanthropies, and the National Cybersecurity Center. It will be the first time the partnership deploys mobile voting for all participants in an election.

Democracy Live, Tusk, and the National Cybersecurity Center have run mobile voting pilots for overseas voters and people with disabilities in nine elections so far. Two counties in Oregon piloted mobile voting in special elections last November.

The King County Conservation District is a non-regulatory state agency charged with protecting national resources. It is governed by a board of five supervisors, with one seat up for grabs in the Feb. 11 election.

Democracy Live has been expanding its mobile voting platform over the past few years, boosted by partnerships and a $4.5 million investment round in 2018. OmniBallot has been deployed in more than 1,000 elections across the U.S. since Democracy Live launched the platform 12 years ago.

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