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Military families can still register to vote

by Brian Zylstra | October 12th, 2012

UPDATE: We have a few clarifications to this blog post. Additions are in bold, and deletions are crossed out. 

If you are active or reserve military personnel, you and your family are exempt from voter registration deadlines and can register as late as Election Day. A spouse or dependent who is away from home because of the military service can also qualify as a “service” voter or “military” voter.

“Protecting our citizens overseas should not prevent soldiers and their families from exercising their own rights as citizens. We are proud to give our men and women in uniform a voice in the upcoming election,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said. “We believe every soldier should help choose the next commander in chief, and take part in the decisions that impact their families at home.”

Register to vote online with MyVote and indicate you are in the military. Your spouse and dependents should also list military status in their registrations. If you do not have a Washington State driver license or ID, you must print a registration form and provide the last four digits of your SSN. You may return your printed registration by mail, fax or email to your county elections department by Election Day.

To register as a Washington State voter, you must list a Washington residential address. This can be your most recent address in the state, or that of a family member. Your mailing address can be anywhere in the world. Alternatively, you can request to receive your ballot by fax or email and return your voted ballot the same way.

If you are stationed in Washington but decide to register in your home state, you can use the Federal Voting Application Postcard.

Military voters are encouraged to request a ballot from their county as soon as possible. Federal law allows military voters who are not registered to return a marked ballot with a voter registration form. All ballots must be postmarked on Election Day or email time-stamped by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

While Wisconsin or Illinois reportedly did not send out all of its military ballots by the 45-day federal deadline to mail such ballots before Election Day,  Washington mailed 57,314 ballots to all military and overseas voters on Sept. 21, one day before this deadline. Our Elections Division applauds all 39 counties for meeting this important deadline.

The General Election concludes Nov. 6. The statewide Voters’ Pamphlet and ballots will be sent out next week.  Meanwhile, you can go to www.vote.wa.gov to view statewide measures and candidate information in our online Voters’ Guide.

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