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An Update on City of Seattle’s Preparations Ahead of Election Day

Seattle (November 2, 2020) – For the last month, the Seattle Mayor’s Office has been closely coordinating with the Governor, County Executive, and City departments for a safe and secure Election Day. The City’s goal is to protect residents’ sacred right to vote and ensure their vote is counted. As of the afternoon morning of November 2, the Seattle Police Department and partner law enforcement agencies do not have any intelligence to indicate that there are any specific threats for Election Day or the days following. In addition, the City’s partners at King County Elections have not reported any concerns or known security threats or issues at any ballot drop boxes. As such, the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, and other law enforcement agencies have been planning for contingency purposes only in order to be prepared for a wide range of scenarios.

“Voting is one of our greatest rights and duties as Americans, and Election Day is an opportunity for us to shape the future of our communities. We’re in the midst of a global public health crisis and an election cycle that has perpetuated fear, anxiety, and uncertainty for so many of us, both here in Seattle and across our country. Today and every day, it’s important to remember that Seattle and King County have a long history of leading the country in safe and secure elections. We will ensure every vote will be counted in the coming days, and we are prepared,” said Mayor Durkan. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic with surging cases in King County, which why we launched Rock to Block to encourage individuals to stay in their neighborhoods for a safe Election Night. And finally, if you haven’t already, please vote!”

To date, nearly 80 percent of Seattle residents have voted. Residents can return their ballot to a ballot drop box (no stamp required) and must do so by 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. Read more about returning your ballot

The City asks residents to please sign up for Alert Seattle, which is an important way to get emergency alerts and notifications from the City. 

Below please find an update on City departments’ preparations for Election Day and potentially the days following:

Department of Neighborhoods: The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) has been reaching out to community and neighborhood groups to ensure they have the information and resources they need to have a successful and safe Election Day. DON will be on standby to assist with any response and communication as needs arise throughout the week.

Finance and Administrative Services: The Department of Finance and Administrative Services has proactively ensured vendors and staff will be on standby over the coming days in case they are needed to board up windows, repair or replace broken windows and remove graffiti on City-owned properties.

Office of Economic Development: The Office of Economic Development (OED) has reached out to small business owners to provide proactive information on how to prepare and secure their employees and customers as well as their property to mitigate the impact of broken windows and graffiti, should that occur. OED, in collaboration with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), is also reminding property owners to be mindful of their dumpsters and carts should demonstrations occur, as those need to be put away to mitigate the impact of arson.

Office of Emergency Management: The City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has been coordinating with City departments, regional emergency management agencies, and Washington state to ensure Election Day – and potentially the days and weeks following – proceeds as smoothly as possible. At this time, OEM and City departments will be on standby should the need arise and are prepared for real-time coordination of any response with internal and external partners throughout the week of the election and beyond if needed.

Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs: OIRA would like to remind our immigrant and refugee friends and neighbors to re-familiarize yourselves with your constitutionally guaranteed rights. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project has translated Know Your Rights information here. Lastly, OIRA reminds all Seattle area immigrants that the application period for the Seattle COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund for Immigrants ends on Thursday, November 5, 11:59 p.m.

Seattle Department of Transportation: SDOT recently announced “Rock the Block” Stay Healthy Blocks“Rock the Block” Stay Healthy Blocks to give people the opportunity to open up their street to people walking and rolling on Election Day to get outside and be with neighbors while maintaining a safe social distance after they vote. Rock the Block is for Tuesday, November 3, 2020 only and requires an online registration. If residents would like to extend their block closure, they can request a free permit that allows for additional dates up to November 30, 2020. In addition, SDOT’s Department Operations Center and Incident Management Team will be activated Election Day, to respond to mobility impacts and any hazards in the right of way. The Incident Management Team provides an enhanced level of readiness and response for the department and is prepared to stay activated if conditions warrant.

Seattle Fire Department: Businesses that have taken preparations by boarding up their storefront windows are asked to ensure that addresses and standpipe connections (for fire hoses) are visible so first responders can quickly respond to the location should an emergency occur. SFD has upstaffed resources for Election Day to ensure firefighters and paramedics are ready to respond to fire, medical and rescue emergencies across the City once a scene is deemed secure.

Seattle Parks and Recreation Department: Seattle Parks and Recreation has special attention to its child care and teen hub sites, and will provide support to youth on this important day. Crews will ensure that parks that historically have seen protests will be free of objects that could be thrown or vandalized. Seattle Parks and Recreation shower sites will be closing at 5:30 p.m. to allow staff and community to get home.

Seattle Police Department: The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has restricted time off for Election Day and the week following the election. In addition, department personnel have received additional demonstration management training leading up to Election Day. Should demonstrations occur, the SPD is prepared to staff them appropriately as the need arises.