Frequently Asked Questions
- What are Democracy Vouchers?
- Who can use them?
- How is the Democracy Voucher Program funded?
- What happens if I do not use my Democracy Vouchers?
- I lost my vouchers. How do I request replacement Democracy Vouchers?
- If I do not have a permanent address, can I still participate?
- How do I get my Democracy Vouchers?
- When will I receive my Democracy Vouchers?
- Which candidates can accept my Democracy Vouchers?
- Can I give all my Democracy Vouchers to one candidate?
- How do I return my Democracy Vouchers?
- Am I registered to vote?
- Do I have to be a registered voter to receive Democracy Vouchers?
- I do not want to use my vouchers. Can I give my Democracy Vouchers to someone else or to an organization to assign for me?
- How do I know my Democracy Vouchers are going to my selected candidate?
- How will candidates spend my Democracy Vouchers?
Democracy Vouchers are a new way for Seattle residents to get more involved in their city government. Eligible Seattle residents will receive four $25 paper certificates they can use to support a candidate running for Seattle City Council or City Attorney. The program will expand to include the Mayor's race in 2021.
In order to use Democracy Vouchers, you must be:
- A Seattle resident,
- At least 18 years of age, and
- A U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident ("green card holder")
You do not have to be a registered voter to use Democracy Vouchers. If you meet all three criteria, you may apply for Democracy Vouchers.
Using a Democracy Voucher is just like making a contribution to a campaign. According to the Federal Elections Commission, individuals who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or lawful permanent residents are prohibited from making campaign contributions and may not submit Democracy Vouchers to local campaigns.
In November 2015, Seattle voters approved a property tax amounting to a total of $3 million per year to fund the program for the next 10 years.
If you do not use your Democracy Vouchers, the funds will carry over to the next election cycle to fund the program. The funds do not roll over to the general fund. The Democracy Voucher program will expand to include the Mayor's race in 2021.
Please call (206) 727-8855 or e-mail email@example.com to request replacement vouchers. You will be asked to provide your name, date of birth, and mailing address. We can send you a PDF version of your Democracy Vouchers or mail you a new set to your address.
Yes. You may register at an address where you spend a substantial part of your time or have some connection. This could be a previously permanent address, shelter, or similar place.
If you have additional questions about your unique situation, please contact the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission by calling (206) 727-8855 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a registered voter, you will automatically receive your Democracy Vouchers by mail.
If you are not a registered voter, you may be eligible apply to receive Democracy Vouchers by downloading the application. The application is available in 15 languages.
Democracy Vouchers will be mailed throughout the election year beginning January 3, 2017 to October 1, 2017.
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission will periodically mail Democracy Vouchers to newly registered voters. Please expect up to four weeks to process.
To register to vote or update your voter registration, please visit King County Elections.
If you are not eligible to vote, you may still be eligible to receive Democracy Vouchers. Learn more and apply here.
The list of eligible candidates can be found on the eligible candidates page. New candidates have until June 2, 2017 to qualify as a candidate. Please check the website often for the updated list of candidates.
Vouchers may only be assigned to eligible candidates in the Democracy Voucher Program. You can give eligible candidates one ($25), two ($50), three ($75), or all four ($100) of your Democracy Vouchers.
Democracy Vouchers may be returned directly to a candidate's campaign, to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, or dropped-off at one of the designated locations.
View the full list of return methods and drop-off locations.
Vouchers must have your signature, date signed, and the candidate's name clearly written to be processed.
You may check your voter registration status and/or update your mailing address by visiting King County Elections.
No, Democracy vouchers are assigned to you and only you.
Vouchers may not be sold, gifted, or bought. Democracy Vouchers have no cash value and are not assets.
To ensure your vouchers are assigned to the candidate(s) you selected, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission will publish a list of candidates who received vouchers and the names of people who assigned vouchers on the program data page. All voucher assignments are public information.
Candidates using Democracy Vouchers for their campaign are held to all existing campaign spending laws. Voucher funds can be used for allowable campaign expenses e.g. paying for printing, advertisements, and office space.
Campaign funds may not be used to:
- Make cash payments;
- Reimburse contributors for their contributions;
- Pay the candidate a salary, or pay the candidate's personal expenses;
- Support the candidate in a campaign for a different office;
- Make contributions to other candidates or political committees; or,
- Make payments to family members.