King county council chair applauds voter support of even-year elections charter amendment

Thursday, November 10, 2022

On Tuesday, King County voters sent a clear message that they want to expand democracy by approving King County Charter Amendment 1 and move elections for county executive, assessor, director of elections, and councilmembers to even-numbered years.

“King County voters want to strengthen our democracy by making it easier for more people to vote to elect their County-level representatives,” said King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, who introduced the even-year election proposal. 
"Already, King County’s elections are one of the most transparent, secure and inviting in the nation, and now with this one simple, commonsense change to King County’s charter, we can make our elections even better.”

The logic behind the proposal is simple: even-year elections regularly see higher voter turnout than odd-years. Since 2010, King County’s average voter turnout rate is 77% in even-numbered years and 47% in odd-numbered years. In 2021, countywide ballot measures and offices had 40 to 41% turnout, while countywide ballot measures and offices in 2020 saw voter turnout between 78% and 80%.

Voter turnout in even-year elections is also more reflective of the electorate. Areas with more renters see a higher odd-year drop than areas with more homeowners, and voters of color have a bigger dip in turnout in odd-years than white voters.

As of Wednesday night, November 9, 2022, Charter Amendment 1 was passing with 69% of ballots in favor to 31% opposed. With this change, people elected to office starting in 2023 or 2025 will serve a three-year term (2023-2026 or 2025-2028) in order to move to an even-numbered year schedule. Subsequent terms, starting in 2026 and 2028, would again be four-year terms.


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