Conservation District Board of Supervisors
King Conservation District is led by an all-volunteer, five-member board of supervisors. Three of the members are elected while the other two are appointed by the Washington State Conservation Commission, an agency created to assist and guide conservation district activities in Washington State.
Supervisors serve a three-year term and oversee the operations of KCD. Board members contribute local perspectives on important natural resource management and conservation issues, seek feedback about conservation programs from District residents, set KCD policy, and direct KCD’s work plan and budget.
- KCD has no regulatory or enforcement authority.
- Supervisors have no legislative or rule making authority.
- Supervisors have no authority to impose taxes, levies or other assessments. KCD’s operating budget is authorized and approved by the King County Council through an interlocal agreement.
Conservation District Elections
KCD elections are conducted pursuant to regulations established by state statute RCW 89.08 with oversight from the Washington State Conservation Commission. These regulations:
- Require that elections occur annually during the first quarter of each year.
- Stagger supervisor terms so that one of the elected supervisors is up for election each year.
Why isn’t this election held in November?
By state law, conservation districts are required to hold their elections in the first three months of the year. It would take an act of the Washington State legislature to change this.
Who can vote in KCD elections?
KCD elections are open to all registered voters in our service area. KCD’s service area includes 34 King County cities and all of unincorporated King County with the exclusion of the Cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific and Skykomish.
How are details of a KCD election set?
KCD elections are conducted pursuant to laws established by state statute RCW 89.08 with oversight from the Washington State Conservation Commission. These laws stipulate that the election must be held in the first quarter of the year. A KCD Board resolution confirms the exact date within that three month period.
What do KCD elections typically look like?
Historically, KCD has held board elections in February or March with two options to participate: 1) in-person voting at our office and 2) mail-in ballots by request. The election is promoted through press releases, newsletters, word-of-mouth, web and social media, and limited paid advertising. Turnout is typically less than 1 percent.
What is KCD doing to increase participation in its election?
KCD has repeatedly met with state legislators and county officials to explore ways to improve our elections. Many efforts are held up by requirements of existing statute and cost. KCD promotes our election through press releases, newsletters, word-of-mouth, web and social media, and limited paid advertising.
Why isn’t this election just listed on my standard mail-in ballot?
Cost. Estimates for King County Elections to administer the KCD election through standard county ballots mailed during the first three months of the year (as currently required by law) range from $1-3 per ballot, depending on how many elections share the ballot. Ballots must be mailed to all registered voters in King County. With an annual operating budget of ~$8 million, KCD would spend over $1 to $3 million each year to be included on King County’s standard mail-in ballots for a first quarter election. If the election were held in November (currently barred by state statute), this cost would potentially be less (estimates range from $500,000- $1 million).
Why aren’t the final results posted immediately?
Conservation District elections are reviewed and certified by the Washington State Conservation Commission. The Commission certifies the election results for all 45 Washington State Conservation Districts at one time. The Commission meets quarterly. Certification occurs at the regularly scheduled 2nd quarter Commission meeting, typically in April or May. Until the Commission certifies an election, all results are preliminary.
2020 Board Election
Following the 2019 election, KCD, at the direction of the King County Council, partnered with King County Elections to explore ways to improve the efficiency of the election and increase awareness and participation.
At the recommendation of King County Elections, and with full support of the King County Council, for the 2020 board election, KCD partnered with King County Elections, Democracy Live, and Tusk Philanthropy to reduce barriers to our election, raise awareness, and increase voter turnout.
Democracy Live was recommended by the King County Council and is called out by name in KCD’s 2020-2024 ILA with the County as a potential elections partner.
Democracy Live is approved by the Washington State Secretary of State and is utilized by election offices of Pierce and King Counties. KCD worked with these organizations and used OmniBallot, an electronic method of delivering and returning ballots used by the U.S. military and in nearly 8,000 elections, to allow users to access their physical King County ballot through an electronic device in compliance with federal law.
These efforts doubled participation in the KCD board election from the prior year and were significantly higher than historical average turnout.
KCD has received both positive and negative feedback around our 2020 election. We are committed to continuing to increase voter participation within the restrictions placed upon us.