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Registration deadlines coming for February Special Election ?>

Registration deadlines coming for February Special Election

If you aren’t a registered voter in Washington but want to vote in the special election period ending Feb. 14, here are registration deadlines to keep in mind.

Jan. 16 is the last day to register online or make online updates to your name or address. Because Jan. 16 is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and the U.S. Postal Service isn’t delivering mail that day, our Elections Division is urging county elections offices to accept mail-in registrations or updates postmarked Jan. 17.  Go here to register online or to print out a voter registration form.

If you’re currently not a registered voter in Washington, you have until Feb. 6 to register in person at your county elections office.

Counties will mail ballots to military and overseas voters on or before Jan. 15, with the remaining ballots being sent to all other voters by Jan. 27.

Thirty-four of the state’s 39 counties have at least one district with a measure appearing on the February Special Election ballot. Of the 103 ballot measures throughout the state for the February election, 79 are for school levies. The others cover city, fire, park, library, hospital and cemetery measures.

For more information about the February Special Election, contact your county elections department or the Secretary of State’s Elections Division.

WA voter reg sets a one-day record; total now tops 4.2m ?>

WA voter reg sets a one-day record; total now tops 4.2m


Voter registrations in Washington hit a new one-day record on Monday, the deadline for online and mail-in registration. In that single day, 27,601 signed up online via the Secretary of State’s That broke the previous record set just a day earlier, 23,167. Before that, the all-time one-day record was set last spring, 13,109, with help from Facebook prompts.

The number of registered voters now stands at 4,207,379. It’s the first time we’ve exceeded 4.2 million. We celebrated our four millionth voter just seven months ago.

The number is expected to climb as online and mail applications are processed by the counties. Also, in-person new registrations are welcome throughout Oct. 31.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer and an election administrator for the past 23 years, said she’s never seen a surge like this:

“We are ecstatic to see more than 50,000 new registrations in the past 48 hours. These are great days for citizen engagement and we welcome every single new voter.”

The rush in new registrations was prompted by the Monday deadline for online and mail-in applications and by heavy interest in the presidential race, the St. Louis debate and 24-7 news coverage, Wyman said.

She noted that there are plenty of other draws for voting this year, too – all nine statewide offices, a Senate seat and all 10 U.S. House seats, judicial races, control of the Legislature, and a raft of state and local races and propositions. She added:

“It’s a feast for voters.”

Voters are getting their Voters’ Pamphlet in the mail this week and ballots will be mailed by the counties beginning next Wednesday. Military and overseas voters are already voting.

Reminder: Oct. 10 is WA voter-reg deadline ?>

Reminder: Oct. 10 is WA voter-reg deadline


A reminder that Monday, Oct. 10, is the deadline for online and mail-in voter registration ahead of the General Election.

Secretary Wyman and the state Elections Director Lori Augino said Tuesday that county election departments will also honor mail-in applications with an Oct. 11 postmark.

The Oct. 10 deadline could have been a problem for some who are registering by mail, since that is a federal holiday and the post office will not process or postmark on that day or on Sunday the 9th.

That means the functional deadline to mail the form would be Oct. 8. That would violate the National Voter Registration Act provision that says no state may have a mail-in voter registration deadline longer than 30 days. Oct. 8 would be 31 days before Election Day.

Wyman, herself a former county auditor, said it made no sense that a voter acting in good faith could mail on time, but not get a timely postmark. Wyman and the state Elections Division, in an email early last week, recommended that all counties honor an Oct. 11 postmark.

Oct. 10 at midnight remains the deadline for online registration. In-person registration at the county elections offices also remains an option through Oct. 31.

Wyman called on the 2017 Legislature to approve previous efforts by the auditors and her office to move the mail registration deadline to 28 days before the election, instead of 29 days. The bill, first introduced two years ago, would also move the online, motor-voter, and in-person deadline to 11 days before the election.


Secretary Wyman, auditors propose election reforms ?>

Secretary Wyman, auditors propose election reforms

Kim and auditors at news conference 2016

Secretary of State Kim Wyman and county election leaders have announced a bipartisan proposal to clear the way to check for citizenship of people who want to register and vote in Washington.

At a news conference in Spokane on Friday, Wyman and county partners proposed legislation for the upcoming session that would adopt the REAL ID Act for Washington. That would mean people would have to present citizenship verification to get a driver’s license, and election administrators could then do a citizenship check at the front end of the process.

The package also includes a plan for automatic voter registration of those who provide documentation of citizenship, with an opt-out provision. Oregon currently runs such a program. Without a citizenship check, that’s not possible in Washington, since both state and federal law ban registration and voting by non-citizens.

Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said:

“Our package is reasonable; it’s long overdue.  Our current laws are not working the way we need them to.”

During this past week, questions were raised about the citizenship of Arcan Cetin, who confessed to murdering five people at Cascade Mall in Burlington. He registered in 2014 and voted in three elections. On each of those occasions, he affirmed that he was a U.S. citizen and met the other qualifications to be a voter. The penalty of registration and voter fraud is a prison term of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Wyman said:

“This issue pales in comparison to the tragedy of five innocent lives lost. But when the citizenship of Mr. Cetin was publicly called into question as part of the story, it shined a bright light on the fact that under current state law, as election administrators, we are not able to confirm the citizenship of any registered voter.

“This week’s situation has highlighted a problem with current law. We need to verify citizenship and the other requirements for voting at the beginning of the voter registration process – rather than retroactively scrutinizing individual registrations through a lens of partisanship or events, like those of this past week.

Following action in New Mexico recently, Washington is now one of only three states that have not moved to comply with the federal REAL ID Act. States that are in compliance collect and track citizenship information at their driver’s license agencies, and can screen the data for non-citizens.

Wyman added:

 “That’s the way our laws read, and, no, it doesn’t make sense!” Wyman said. “The Department of Licensing is not authorized or directed by state law to require this.  The Secretary of State and the auditors of Washington are not permitted to demand proof of citizenship – and so there is no way to verify.

“I find this completely unacceptable.  Our laws are not working the way they need them to. We need to construct laws and processes to verify voter eligibility on the front end of the voter registration application. We are here today to propose some sensible and concrete solutions to correct this problem. The time for action is now. People are understandably frustrated about this situation and we are frustrated as well. It’s time for action in the January session.”

Wyman noted that the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 is the law of the land and the Department of Homeland Security has been pressuring every state to comply. DHS has announced that (more…)

Facebook helps spread the word: Register to vote! ?>

Facebook helps spread the word: Register to vote!

Phone with facebook app running

Facebook has launched an internet drive to prompt people to register to vote, including many in Washington.

From Friday through Monday, Sept. 26, people on Facebook who are 18 and older will get a reminder at the top of their news feed urging them to get registered to vote – or if they already are registered, to remind their FB friends to do so.

Secretary of State  Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections official, said Washington could set a single-day registration record. The previous spike, also prompted by Facebook, was 13,109 on March 18. The previous high-water mark was 12,655 on Oct. 8, 2012, ahead of that year’s registration deadline.

This year’s deadline for online and mail registration is Oct. 10.

Wyman noted we’ve been celebrating September as National Voter Registration Month and this coming Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, and added:

“We are delighted to partner with Facebook and welcome every single eligible person to sign up.”

State Elections Director Lori Augino said social media are a powerful way to reach potential voters, including millennials. She also noted that the state is sending out postcards to 140,000 Washington residents who appear to be eligible, inviting them to go online and register.

Ballots went out to about 72,000 military and overseas voters this week, and can be cast right away. Ballots for the rest of the 4.1 million voters go out by Oct. 21 and are due back by drop box by 8 p.m. Nov. 8, or by mail with a postmark of Nov. 8.

WA Elections Division reaching out to 140k potential voters ?>

WA Elections Division reaching out to 140k potential voters

Washington’s state Elections Division is sending out postcards to 140,000 state residents who appear eligible to vote, but haven’t yet registered.

Many of the cards will go to new 18 year olds and to millennials between 19 and 35. The mailings will have a catchy, humorous graphic and information on how to quickly register online by Oct. 10. About 21,000 will go to 18 year olds and 72,000 to those 19-35.

Eligible but unregistered 18 year olds will receive this postcard:

18-yr-old postcard

Half of eligible but unregistered 19-35 year olds will receive this postcard:

19-35 postcard

Half of 19-35 year olds and all 36 and over will receive this postcard:

19-35&36-yr-old postcard

The Elections Division is working with researchers from Pew Charitable Trusts and will analyze the response to see which design has the higher registration rate to help improve future outreach materials.

Each postcard notes that the recipients aren’t on the voter rolls and that they are invited to register online or by mail by Oct. 10 in order to take part in the General Election. First-time Washington voters may also register in person at their county elections office by Oct. 31.

Washington residents are eligible if they are at least 18, a U.S. citizen and not under custody of the Department of Corrections. (more…)

WA General Election voting kicks off this week ?>

WA General Election voting kicks off this week


Washington’s General Election voting season gets under way in just a few days, with counties sending ballots to over 72,000 military and overseas voters around the globe.

Federal law provides extra transit time for military and overseas voters, with counties required to send out ballots 45 days before Election Day. This year, that’s Saturday, Sept. 24. A number of soldiers and others have also requested electronic versions. Still others use federal write-in ballots via the Federal Voting Assistance Program at

This year, about 49,500 of the early ballots are going out to military voters and about 22,600 to Washington voters living abroad, many on business or for missionary or Peace Corps service. The ballots can be voted right away. (Some of the FVAP ballots have already been voted and returned to counties.)

The rest of Washington’s 4.1 million voters will be mailed ballots in roughly four weeks. Many counties will begin to send out ballot packets on Oct. 19; Oct. 21 is the deadline to do so. To count, ballots must be returned by Nov. 8, either via free drop box or by mail with a postmark no later than Nov. 8.

Online and mail-in voter registration and updates will be accepted through Oct. 10.  In-person new registrations are welcome through Oct. 31.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said Washington always makes it a special point to give military and overseas voters great service. She said living abroad as a military wife gave her a first-hand experience that has stuck with her for her whole elections career: The California ballots for her and her Army Ranger husband John once arrived the day AFTER the election.

Wyman and state Elections Director Lori Augino have worked closely with the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Council of State Governments, Election Assistance Commission and other national groups on registration and voter services on the Washington military bases and abroad.

Says Augino:

“Washington has the third largest number of military and overseas voters in the country, so it’s a huge priority for us. We put out the red carpet.”


WA voters: 4 million strong! ?>

WA voters: 4 million strong!



Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson headlined an event to celebrate a milestone: Washington has surpassed 4 million registered voters for the first time in state history.

During the ceremony at Anderson’s offices in Tacoma on Monday, Wyman and Anderson introduced the 4 millionth voter, 18-year-old Katarina Gruber of Pierce County. Gruber went to Pierce County Elections on her birthday in late March to register to vote in person.

“This is a big moment for Washington voters,” Wyman said.  “We are 4 million strong! Thanks to outreach efforts by the state and county elections offices, we’ve seen a steady increase in voter registrations over the years. We have our state’s Presidential Primary coming soon, as well as a General Election that features President, Governor and other statewide offices, legislative and other races on the ballot, so I strongly encourage people to register to vote and take part in these important and exciting upcoming elections.”


Secretary Wyman (left) and Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson (right) with Katarina Gruber, honored as Washington’s 4 millionth voter.

Wyman praised Gruber, a senior at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, for taking time on her 18th birthday to register in person at her county elections office.

“That shows a real commitment to voting. When people register to vote at a young age, they tend to become lifelong voters and engage in community life. We hope young adults follow Katarina’s lead and register now and then have their voices heard by voting,” Wyman said.

“It’s gratifying to see the person behind the record!” Anderson said. “Katarina’s intentionality is inspiring. She very intentionally registered and I absolutely know that she will be a regular voter. She is truly engaged.”

“I thought it was important to vote because as American citizens we all have a voice,” Gruber said. “Voting gives us that voice and you can best believe that I am not going to live in this country and not use my voice.”

April 25 is the deadline for online or mail-in voter registrations or address changes or other registration updates before May’s Washington Presidential Primary. People can learn more about registering online or via mail by going here.

Those who are not registered to vote in Washington have until May 16 to register in person at their county elections office in order to vote in the Presidential Primary. Information about county elections offices can be found here.

Secretary Wyman helps launch bipartisan voter project ?>

Secretary Wyman helps launch bipartisan voter project

vote flag

Secretary of State Kim Wyman has joined Starbucks and business and non-profit leaders and voter groups in helping launch a nationwide project to encourage employees to register, vote and engage themselves in their communities.

img-114aaThe project is being organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

Wyman has been in conversation with Starbucks corporate leaders in Seattle about ways to enhance voter participation. The company is among the organizing sponsors. Marriott International, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and others have joined the effort, as have BPC leaders from both parties and election leaders, including Secretary Wyman.

The project is providing guiding principles for participating organizations and technical support to connect organizations with local election administrators.

The national media kit includes this quote from Wyman, the only Secretary or election administrator quoted:

“The election officials of America should welcome the creative, powerful and forward-looking strategies the Bipartisan Policy Center is launching,” said Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who has spent most of her adult life in election administration and working on reforms at the county, state and national level. “It is the job of all of us to work tirelessly to remove barriers, promote civility, and encourage people to vote and get engaged in democracy. We are a better nation when that happens. We desperately need better civic dialogue and involvement by each and every qualified voter.”