That means if your mail ballot doesn’t have a valid Tuesday postmark, or unless you’ve used a dropoff box or carted your ballot directly in to the county elections office or an official voting center like they’ve opened in King County, it won’t count. That would be really sad.
Secretary of State Sam Reed notes that at least 98 percent of the votes cast this election will be by mail. He urges last-minute voters to use dropboxes or county election facilities, rather than risk not getting postmarked. (In Thurston County, for instance, outgoing mail left on one’s front porch will go to Tacoma to be postmarked and may not be counted if you aren’t careful.)
Reed says Washington voters are “revved up” about this year’s general election, and that he’s predicting a 66 percent return rate — the best for any midterm election in the past four decades. He estimates that more than 50 percent have already been returned, and that roughly 60 percent will be processed and tallied by Election Night. The rest will either still be in the mail (with a valid Nov. 2 postmark) or already at the courthouse awaiting processing.
And, yes, it could be a nail-biting wait for results if the race is tight on Election Night. Most counties, including King, will post only one tally Election Night, unlike the old days when the vote count was updated multiple times before workers went home around midnight. Most counties will report their updates on a daily basis this week.
For a one-stop election results homepage, head to www.vote.wa.gov after 8 p.m. on Tuesday and in the days ahead. Offices that are wholly within one county will be reported on the county’s election website.
Bottom line: VOTE! It’s your voice. The state will be choosing a U.S. senator, all nine House members, 123 legislators in both chambers, judges, local officials, and deciding the fate of nine statewide ballot measures, covering everything from an income tax and privatizing liquor sales, to rolling back the soda pop tax and making it harder to raise taxes in Olympia.