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Elections

Washington’s top-two primary: What it is and how it works

Washington’s top-two primary: What it is and how it works

Voting has begun for Washington’s 2018 Primary Election, for which ballots can be submitted in county drop boxes or via postage-paid U.S. Mail until Election Day, August 7. This year, Primary’s ballots include groups of candidates vying to collect enough votes to make the General Election, for which ballots are due Nov. 6. Across America, states use a variety of systems to winnow down fields of candidates to finalists, as the National Conference of State Legislatures describes here. In 2004,…

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Online voter registration reaches new heights

Online voter registration reaches new heights

A decade after Washington became the second state in the country to take voter registration online, 35 states and the District of Columbia (that other Washington, as some know it) have followed suit. Under current law, the deadline for online voter registration is 30 days before Election Day, so the deadline for registering to vote in the August Primary Election passed this week, on July 9th. Thanks to the excellent work by our Elections Division, thousands of Washingtonians registered to vote…

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Video voters’ guide now available

Video voters’ guide now available

In partnership with TVW, the Office of Secretary of State is proud to present a new Video Voters Guide to help voters make informed decisions in the 2018 Primary and General Elections. At the Video Voters Guide, which the Yakima Herald-Republic calls “must-see TV for (the) 2018 election,” viewers can watch unedited candidate statements for the four statewide races on this year’s ballots — three Washington state Supreme Court justice positions and a seat in the United States Senate. Twenty…

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Student Voter registration challenge 2018

Student Voter registration challenge 2018

To encourage as many young adults as possible to make their voices heard in the 2018 General Election, Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Gov. Jay Inslee have launched a special Student Voter Registration Challenge to sign up Washington’s college students as new voters. As Gov. Inslee’s office describes here, the Student Voter Registration Challenge is a competition open to students at all 40 of Washington’s public universities, community colleges, and technical colleges. Student teams must register by Aug. 1 to…

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Paid petition signature gathering in Washington: What’s legal and why

Paid petition signature gathering in Washington: What’s legal and why

A recent news report in the Everett Herald noted that June is a prime petition-gathering month for four statewide initiatives now in circulation. According to the story, workers collecting signatures to put a referendum on Seattle’s new job tax on the November ballot are being paid $6 per signature, and anyone who gets 75 or more signatures a day gets an entry in a drawing for a four-country trip to Europe. “Too good to be true? Or legal? Maybe,” the…

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Filing week 2018: Look who’s on the ballot now

Filing week 2018: Look who’s on the ballot now

Now that filing week for candidates to get onto Washington ballots for the 2018 August Primary and November General Election has passed, along with the May 21st deadline for candidates to withdraw their names, here are a few quick facts about this year’s election lineup With 596 races to be decided on levels from local to federal, 1,151 candidates filed to run — including 30 candidates for U.S. Senate, which is one of the largest fields in Washington history. It…

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Time to sign up to run on the 2018 ballot

Time to sign up to run on the 2018 ballot

Although fervent politicking began weeks ago in races across the state, the official start of election season arrives Monday, with the beginning of Candidate Filing Week 2018. From May 14-18, candidates for federal, state, and local offices from county commissioner to U.S. Senator must register with county elections offices or the Office of Secretary of State to get their names onto ballots for this year’s elections cycle. The 596 races on this year’s Washington ballots include legislative races in every…

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Al Swift and Ralph Munro: How motor voter went national

Al Swift and Ralph Munro: How motor voter went national

Tacoma native and former U.S. Rep. Al Swift, who died April 20 at 82, was a national leader in expanding voter participation across the political spectrum. The motor-voter bill President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993 was authored by Swift, as was the version that had been vetoed by President George Bush in 1992. In a career that also included the legislative victories of restored Amtrak service between Seattle and British Columbia and mandatory handicapped access to polling places,…

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Signatures and state law: The enduring power of the pen

Signatures and state law: The enduring power of the pen

Even though the routine act of signing your name to authorize credit-card charges will soon become history, it is perhaps premature to consider the pen-and-paper signature doomed to obsolescence. Across the U.S., government at all levels remains legally reliant on hand-signed names in an immense number of ways. Federally, you might be able to electronically sign a tax return for the Internal Revenue Service, but a U.S. Passport and a Social Security card each require a written signature. The rationale goes back…

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April special election is underway

April special election is underway

For about 20 percent of Washington voters, today marks the beginning of the chance to cast ballots in a special election. Ballot boxes opened this morning for the April special election, the second of four election cycles for Washington voters in 2018. There’s plenty of time to participate: Election day is April 24, and the deadline for in-person voter registration with county election officials is April 16. So what’s on the ballot? For voters in 15 of Washington’s 39 counties…

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