Wyman, county auditors reach out to potential voters
Are you a Washington resident who is eligible to vote but hasn’t registered yet? Expect a postcard in the mail soon that encourages you to register in time for this fall’s General Election.
That’s the word from state Elections Division officials, who are joining Washington’s 39 county auditors to mail voter registration information to 210,000 eligible residents who haven’t registered yet. About one-third of the recipients are 18-year-olds and 60 percent are under 30. The postcards are being mailed through Sept. 24.
“We hope that citizens receiving the postcard will realize how easy it is to register online to vote here in Washington,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Registering is that key step that will allow them to speak through their ballot on the important races and measures facing voters this fall.”
The eye-catching postcard will contain information on how to register to vote, including eligibility requirements, the web address for online registration and a toll-free number if the recipient wants to request a paper form or has questions about the postcard.
Oct. 6 is the deadline for online or mail-in voter registrations and updates before this fall’s General Election ending Nov. 4. Oct. 27 is the last day for persons currently not registered to apply in person at their county elections office.
The state is using federal grant money to pay the estimated $48,300 cost of mailing the postcard to 210,000 people. That’s about 23 cents per person, or less than half the cost of a postage stamp to enfranchise a person. (In the future, we hope to obtain e-mail addresses so we can contact potential voters while reducing costs.)
It’s possible that some registered voters may also get the postcard, if their driver’s license or state ID records do not exactly match an existing voter registration record. If you receive a postcard and believe you are already registered to vote, you can check your voter registration online using MyVote (www.sos.wa.gov/elections.myvote/), an online tool that allows you to register, change your address, check your registration status, learn about candidates and measures on your ballot, find places to return your ballot, and more. If MyVote confirms that you are registered at your current address, no further action is needed. If MyVote doesn’t confirm your registration, you can register online using MyVote.
The registration update and voter registration effort is possible thanks to the state’s participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a nonprofit organization that helps states improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens. It is governed and managed by states that choose to join. Washington is one of seven states that formed ERIC in 2012. Currently, 12 states and the District of Columbia participate.
This is the third year that Washington is using ERIC to update voter registration records and contacting eligible citizens to register.
Using reports from ERIC, state and county elections officials in Washington will remove duplicate registrations, cancel registrations of deceased voters and more efficiently manage records of voters who have moved and registered in other states.
“ERIC is an important tool as we continue to modernize our voter registration system to be more accurate, efficient and cost-effective,” Wyman said.