Since the advent of vote by mail in Washington State’s largest county several years ago, journalists, activists, and citizens around these parts have become accustomed to a King County Elections results schedule that looks like this:
- Election Night: 8:15 PM results drop
- Subsequent days: Additional results posted around 4 or 4:30 PM
But this year, things are going to be different. Very different.
Determined to speed up the processing of ballots, King County Elections has added a night shift, and plans to release fresh numbers in the middle of the night, every night, for the next several days. This is the posting schedule for this year:
- Election Night, 8:15 PM: First results drop
- Wednesday, 1:30 AM: Second results drop
- Wednesday, 3:30 PM: Third results drop
- Thursday, 3:30 AM: Fourth results drop
Yes, you read that correctly… King County Elections plans to release new numbers at 3:30 AM — as in the middle of the night — every day starting Thursday, November 10th, and ending Sunday, November 13th.
They are not stopping for Veterans Day or the weekend. They will be counting around the clock until we get to Sunday. The pace will slow after that, but there will still be daily releases up until Thanksgiving hits.
Thereafter, the plan is for there to be one results posting a day at 3:30 PM. That changes to 5:30 PM once we get to Thanksgiving week.
So, for the next few days, you can expect fresh numbers to already be available out of King County when you wake up, due to the night shift and the new twenty-four hour operations King County has instituted.
Clearly, management at King County Elections doesn’t want to be a laggard in this election. They have been anticipating a huge volume of ballots, and they have obtained funds from the King County Council to work around the clock so that the pile of unprocessed ballots doesn’t get out of hand. As a consequence, results watching is going to feel very, very different here than it has in years past.
Pierce County Elections also plans a Wednesday AM release, though not in the middle of the night. They’ll drop fresh numbers at 9:30 AM tomorrow.