This blog was originally posted on King County Employee News blog
On Nov. 3, King County Elections conducted the largest Presidential election in its history, amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic. As can be imagined, Election employees had been preparing for this day for months. Elections formed a great partnership with the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) Health Ambassadors in the COVID-19 Emergency Services Group. The Health Ambassadors program was developed to play a critical role in King County’s ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve hospital capacity. The Ambassadors, who perform outreach duties by passing out masks, hand sanitizer, and COVID-19 education tips, were dispatched to various drop box locations and two Vote Centers in King County. Working with Elections staff, they helped with social distancing and line management, while providing a friendly face and a message of appreciation to people who were voting.
Elections also wanted to build a voting experience that was safe and reassuring to all voters. Since the death of George Floyd and so many other Black lives that have been taken through senseless, violent, and racist acts, the Elections team has been concerned about ensuring the safety of staff and voters, while emphasizing a non-militarized and non-police security presence that is community oriented at drop boxes and vote centers. This partnership with the Health Ambassadors provided an additional opportunity to have King County staff available to assist voters and help de-escalate any potentially tense situations. King County Elections looks forward to other ways to partner with the DCHS Health Ambassadors in the future.