Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

Washington State is known for having one of the most effective voting processes in the country, with an efficient mail-in ballot process that provides for wide-spread access to the voting process. However, the February 1, 2022 State Auditor’s analysis of the 2020 Election determined there may be systemic variations occurring due to problems with signature verification. The report indicates disparate rates of signature rejections across Washington counties, namely in rural counties and among communities of color. The Evans Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) is working alongside the Secretary of State’s Office to explore practices noted in the report along with investigating individual voters’ understanding and communication around the signature verification process, and education and outreach methods.

From June 2022 through December 2023 EPIC will lead efforts in the following areas:

  • Ballot Data: The team will analyze individual- and county-level ballot data from the past 10 years of primary and general elections to analyze trends in ballot rejections across the state, with particular attention to variation by age, race, and geography. 
  • County Election Office Staff: The team will work with our state’s county auditors and election staff to understand current practices and expenditures around ballot curing and voter outreach as well as offer feasible recommendations based on each county’s unique demographics and resources.  
  • Community Organizations: The team will interview and convene local and statewide community organizations engaged in elections activities to understand their work to educate voters. 
  • Voters: The team will survey, interview, and convene voters in Washington who had ballots rejected in recent elections to understand their interactions with the curing process. 
  • Project Advisory Board: The team will assemble a group of Washington and national experts in the field of ballot design, curing, and voter engagement to provide recommendations to reduce the number of rejected ballots in the State of Washington. 

  • Scott W. Allard
  • Cali Jahn
  • Keala Aronowitz
  • Alexandra Foltz
  • Megan Ming Francis
  • Will von Geldern
  • Jessika Gill
  • Jake Grumbach
  • Joshua Varela
  • Isaiah Wright

General inquiries about the project may be addressed to: evansepic@uw.edu.

If you have been invited by mail to participate in a survey in regards to your voting experiences and have any questions, please reach out to us at evansepic@uw.edu.