The Nov. 3 General Election promises a historic level of voter turnout. While many voters are returning ballots early, Pierce County Elections anticipates a high volume of traffic at its 47 ballot drop boxes on Election Day.
“So far, 73% of ballots are being returned through ballot drop boxes, while only 27% of voters are using the United States Postal Service,” reports Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson. Ballot drop box utilization will only increase as the election draws closer. To keep traffic moving at ballot drop boxes, Pierce County Elections has enlisted the help of nonpartisan rotary volunteers who are a part of Rotary International. Between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day, pairs of well-marked, badged rotarians will stand at 22 of the county’s busiest boxes. Their sole purpose is to provide a cheerful hello and offer to help voters get their ballots in the box.
“Everyone can relate to the drive-thru experience where you have to unbuckle your seat belt and then stretch out your car window. It speeds up the process when you have a helping hand,” says Auditor Anderson. The help is optional. Any voter may deposit their ballot unassisted.
Rotarians have no other role in the election process and are not responsible for the 8 p.m. closure.
Pierce County Elections tried out the rotary volunteers during the August Primary. “They really kept things moving. Voters seemed to enjoy being greeted by a friendly – albeit masked – face,” said Kyle Haugh, Pierce County Elections supervisor.
Virginia Ferguson, president of Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, was one of rotarians who served during the August test run. “It was a great chance to be a small part in making voting easier for our citizens. The voters were so nice! They appreciated us.”
“As Rotarians, we feel our best, when we’re helping our community. Serving and supporting our local and national election is truly an honor and privilege for each one of us,” said Linda Kaye Briggs, assistant governor, Area 12.5 for Rotary District 5020.
Eighty-eight volunteers from 10 different Pierce County Rotary clubs will help on Election Day at the following locations:
|Pierce County Annex||2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma 98409|
|Annex Drop Box – Second location||2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma 98409|
|Bonney Lake South Park & Ride||Sky Island Drive E. & 184th Ave. E., Bonney Lake 98391|
|Browns Pt NE Tacoma Police Substation||4731 Norpoint Way NE, Tacoma 98422|
|Edgewood City Hall||2224 104th Ave. E., Edgewood 98372|
|Gig Harbor Fire Station 51||6711 Kimball Drive, Gig Harbor 98335|
|Gig Harbor Library||4424 Point Fosdick Drive NW, Gig Harbor 98335|
|Graham Fire & Rescue||10012 187th St. E., Puyallup 98375|
|Kandle Park Police Substation||5140 N. 26th St., Tacoma 98407|
|Lakewood City Hall||6000 Main St. SW, Lakewood 98499|
|Orting Public Safety||401 Washington Ave. SE, Orting 98360|
|Parkland Spanaway Library||13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma 98444|
|Puyallup Library||324 S. Meridian, Puyallup 98371|
|Roy Y Park & Ride||SR 507 & Pacific Ave. S., Spanaway 98387|
|South Hill Library||15420 Meridian E., Puyallup 98375|
|Steilacoom Library||2950 Steilacoom Blvd., Steilacoom 98388|
|Summit Library||5107 112th St. E., Tacoma 98446|
|Sumner Library||1116 Fryer Ave., Sumner 98390|
|TACID||6315 S. 19th St., Tacoma 98466|
|UWT||1906 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 98402|
|West Pierce Fire & Rescue (U.P.)||3631 Drexler Drive W., University Place 98466|
|72nd Street Transit Center||1319 E. 72nd St., Tacoma 98404|
Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a non-political and non-religious organization open to all. Pierce County has 13 Rotary clubs.