We received this interesting report from Bill Huennekens that outlines a proposal to shift the King County (Washington) election process to an all-mail balloting system. This is a comprehensive proposal, with an aggressive action plan to develop a countywide mail voting system within the next year or so. As in recent elections strong majorities of ballots cast in King County are coming through their existing mail ballot system (see page 8 of the report for additional data), it clearly makes sense for King County to consider seriously moving exclusively to all-mail balloting, instead of retaining the dual system of precinct and by-mail voting.
One worthy aspect of the report’s recommendations comes on page 27, where the report discusses steps needed to insure that the transition is evaluated by the academic community (page 27). Working in partnership with election officials is a goal that we have long been working to achieve, and here is an excellent opportunity for scholars and election administrators to work together to improve the election process and to learn more about the impact of vote-by-mail systems on the election process.