In context: In past years, the board of supervisors election has seen less than one percent of eligible voters show up. Being able to cast a vote from a smartphone from virtually anywhere is expected to boost participation, but by how much?

Voters in one Seattle area district will be the first in the country to cast a ballot using their smartphone.

NPR was the first to report that every eligible voter in the King Conservation District, an area that encompasses Greater Seattle and more than 30 additional cities, will be able to vote in the upcoming election using their personal devices.

Ballots will be accepted from today through election day on February 11. As many as 1.2 million voters could participate in the historic board of supervisors election, the publication notes. Of course, there’s no guarantee that actual votes cast will come anywhere near that estimate.

Unfortunately, it’s not as clear cut as simply turning to technology to boost voter turnout as taking the tech route inevitably introduces a whole new set of security concerns. Even with the most secure of apps and platforms, the only real way to put them to the test is to deploy them in a real-world election and see how they perform.

A smaller-scale election like the one coming up in the King Conservation District could be an ideal test bed ahead of a higher profile election with more at stake.

Masthead credit: Vote by 3dfoto. Online voting by