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A King County voting district will allow voters to cast ballots on smartphones, a first in the U.S.

SEATTLE — A voting district in King County is the first in the country to allow all eligible voters to cast ballots on their smartphones.

Mobile voting will be available for the King Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors election. It’s the ninth election in which mobile voting will be used, but it’s the first time in the country that it will be available to all voters, according to Tusk Philanthropies, the nonprofit that launched the Mobile Voting Project. Previous pilots only allowed overseas and military voters or voters with disabilities to use their smartphones for voting.

The King Conservation District is an environmental agency that promotes “the sustainable use of natural resources through responsible stewardship,” according to its website. The election is for a board supervisor opening. Roughly 1.2 million King County residents are eligible to vote in the election.

Voting begins Wednesday, Jan. 22, and continues through 8 p.m. on Election Day, February 11.  

The pilot is a collaboration between the King Conservation District, King County Elections, Democracy Live, Tusk Philanthropies, and the National Cybersecurity Center.

Eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming election by opting in to vote electronically on their smartphones, laptops or even at their local library.

Participating voters will log into a Democracy Live portal on their smart devices, using their name and date of birth to access and mark their ballot. Once the voter has made all their selections, they will have the opportunity to review their ballot to ensure it was marked correctly. Upon confirming their selections, voters will submit their signature to verify their submission before electronically returning their ballot. Voters will also have the option to print and return their marked ballots via local drop boxes throughout the county, or to mail in their ballot. Ballots will be verified and tabulated by King County Elections.

“The more people vote, the more government reflects the will of the people,” said Bradley Tusk, CEO and Founder of Tusk Philanthropies. “ It’s the biggest innovation in democracy in years and we are extremely grateful to King Conservation District and King County Elections for making it happen.”

Eligible voters must reside in King Conservation District’s service area, which includes 34 cities, excluding Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific and Skykomish and all of unincorporated King County.

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